Staff Writer

As a result of repeated accidents, the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) will install stop signs surrounded with blinking red lights on Libby Ave. at the intersection with Main Street (Rt. 25) within the next few months, according to Joyce Taylor, DOT’s chief engineer.

Traffic signals are scheduled to be installed at this dangerous intersection in 2020, but Taylor and Steve Landry, DOT State traffic engineer, agreed that a temporary measure to reduce accidents is needed before then.

At a December 4 meeting with Fire Chief Robert Lefebvre, Police Chief Dan Jones, Gorham State Representative Andrew McLean and others, Lefebvre said that since 2012 there have been an average of seven accidents a year at the intersection. “So far in 2017, there have been nine crashes involving injuries and several could have been fatal,” he confirmed.

Photo credit Eileen Eagan
New blinking stop signs, like the one above, have been approved as an interim fix for the Libby Ave. and Main Street intersection. The signs will be installed on both sides of Libby Ave to alert drivers approaching Main Street.

Most accidents occur when drivers run the stop signs on Libby Avenue. According to Chief Jones, “During rush hours when there is heavy traffic on Main Street, drivers sometime tire of waiting and take foolish chances.”

Solar lights on the existing stop signs seem not to be effective and it is hoped that the blinking red signs will be. Bob Burns, Public Works Director, offered to put white lights on Main Street east of the intersection to warn drivers that the speed limit is lowering. Taylor, who said statewide accidents are way up this year, observed that “distracting the distracted driver is our reality now.”

Since the December 4 meeting, the DOT has painted white stop ahead signs on the road leading into the intersection as a warning.

Taylor said that she would inquire if the date for installing traffic lights could be moved up to 2019. She did not know if the plans include turning lanes, but the money allocated for the project appears to be more than would be required for simple traffic lights.