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Governor Directs DOT Action on Aroostook Highway Project

March 4, 2009

AUGUSTA - Governor John E. Baldacci announced that he has instructed the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) to advance an Aroostook County transportation project so that construction can begin in 2010.  The Caribou Connector included in the Aroostook County Transportation Study will become a stand-alone project separate from the Presque Isle Bypass Segment. 

The Governor held a meeting in his office late this afternoon to ask stakeholders for input on advancing the plans to move forward with the Caribou project.  Attending in person were State Rep. John Martin of Eagle Lake, who arranged the meeting, and other members of the Aroostook County Legislative Delegation and MaineDOT Commissioner David Cole.  Joining via phone were town officials and civic leaders from Houlton, Fort Kent, Caribou and Presque Isle.

“This segment of the Aroostook County Transportation Study is ready to go forward, and the people of Aroostook County are eager for work to begin,” said Governor Baldacci.  “The Caribou Connector will play an important role in the infrastructure development planned in Aroostook County, and I look forward to continuing to work with the Maine legislators, Congressional Delegation and people of the County to improve the critical connections that will open up new opportunities in the region.”

MaineDOT will expedite the construction of the Caribou Connector in the 2010 construction season utilizing existing resources obtained by the State’s Congressional Delegation.  The two segments within the Caribou Connector are estimated to cost $20 million.

MaineDOT and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) received an alignment approval from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on Sept. 18, 2008, regarding the Caribou segment, but are still awaiting a similar approval from the Army Corps of Engineers regarding the Presque Isle Bypass Segment.  The work on the Presque Isle Segment will continue unabated, and the planning work is expected to be complete by the 2011 construction season.

To accomplish this, MaineDOT is working with the Federal Highway Administration to separate the Caribou and Presque Isle projects in the current study.  Current federal High Priority Project funding will be used for the Caribou project.

More details on the agreement for moving forward with the Caribou project will be forthcoming, including specific timetables for the process.

The Caribou Connector Alternative is available for viewing online in the following document on Page 4-7 and is identified as Alternative 4B:

Governor Baldacci also released information on the Aroostook County transportation investments for 2009, which are to be conducted with existing State work funds.  The list is attached below.

AROOSTOOK COUNTY 2009 TRANSPORTATION INVESTMENTS

ROAD & BRIDGE

Hodgdon Stream Bridge Replacement:  $ 967,120.00

Oakfield: Village Bridge Replacement. $ 3,600,000.00

Wallagrass: Wallagrass Bridge Replacement$ 1,600,000.00

Wallagrass: Route 11 Highway Reconstruction:  $ 6,518,148.00

Castle Hill: Route 163 Highway Reconstruction: $ 4,615,307.00

Fort Kent: Route 1, Pave Rehabilitation:  $ 4,435,628.00

Aroostook Region Wide: Crack Seal Region 5.  Anticipated
areas in Caswell, Fort Fairfield, Weston and Crystal. $ 155,091.00

New Sweden: Bearsley Brook Bridge Replacement: $495,000.00

Houlton: New Sidewalks, Bicycle/Pedestrian Facility Improvement. $ 145,000.00

Aroostook Safe Routes to School Caribou. $ 8,237.00

Aroostook Safe Routes to School Fort Fairfield.  $ 118,920.00

Weston: Bancroft Road Culvert Replacement.  $ 164,378.00

Traffic Engineering Presque Isle: Intersection Improvement: Interconnection and coordination of the Route 1 traffic signals.  $ 784,800.00

Road & Bridge Total ---- $ 23,607,629

AVIATION PROJECTS

Frenchville    Northern Aroostook Regional Airport Authority
                  Snow Removal Equipment Building
                   $210,526

Presque Isle  Northern Maine Regional Airport
                   Design Only for Airport Perimeter Fencing and Taxiway “A” Extension
                   $620,851

Houlton        Houlton International Airport
                   Reconstruction of Runway 5-23
                   $5,130,000

Aviation Total --- $5, 961,377

PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION

The regional provider, Aroostook Transportation services, is receiving $75,000 for one bus in current program.

Recovery Funding for busses have yet to be allocated.

Public Transportation Total --- $75,000

TOTAL OF ALL AROOSTOOK COUNTY 2009 FUNDING:  $29,644,006

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