Biddeford Exit 32 Transportation Alternatives/South Street Connections Study
This study will evaluate a range of alternatives to improve safety and mobility along Route 111 west of the Maine Turnpike to downtown Biddeford, including a new road connection between Route 111 and South Street. (See the study area map for details.) The study will determine to what degree a new road or other transportation alternatives could reduce traffic congestion and improve safety along Route 111, including major intersections between Exit 32 and downtown Biddeford. Currently, multiple intersections in this area are failing in terms of Levels of Service (ability to move a sufficient number of vehicles through at peak travel periods). In many cases these intersections have also been identified as high crash locations. A new road would also provide a more direct route from the Turnpike – and the western end of Route 111 – into Biddeford’s downtown.
Where would a new connector road be located?
Identifying whether a connector road is needed and where it could be located are key aspects of the study. One connection that the study will evaluate is from the Maine Turnpike’s Exit 32 ramp to South Street via a north-south route.
Will there be any public meetings for this study?
Yes, we anticipate up to three public meetings. The first will take place on December 14, 2021, the second is anticipated for spring 2022 and the final one is planned for fall 2022. All meeting dates will be posted a month or so beforehand. Email us to sign up for meeting updates.
How else can the public be involved with this process?
This webpage has been created as a place where the public can go to get information on the study, as well as to make comments or ask questions. If you would like to sign up for study updates, send us an email. Other ways we are getting information out and listening to feedback are:
- Watch the City of Biddeford Facebook page for more updates.
- The Biddeford-Saco Courier will help distribute press releases and media announcements.
- The first public meeting will take place at 6 pm on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 to hear initial thoughts, ideas, and concerns from the public. It will be held in a hybrid format, meaning you can either attend in person at Biddeford City Council Chamber or listen in and comment using Zoom.
- Use this link to join the meeting. Webinar ID #948 7538 2890, Passcode #771180
- Two additional public meetings are planned for 2022, the first in the spring and the second in the fall. The spring meeting will present preliminary findings on the alternatives, allowing people to ask questions and provide perspective on the pros and cons of each. The fall meeting will encourage one more round of feedback on a refined set of alternatives
- The results and finding of the study will be announced via online updates (email us to sign up), this web page, social media, and the local newspaper.
Would a new connector road be built by the Maine Turnpike Authority?
All improvements associated with this study are anticipated to be outside the Maine Turnpike Authority’s toll highway. Therefore, improvements would most likely be considered for funding by the Maine Department of Transportation and City of Biddeford. However, any study recommendations are subject to available city and state transportation resources and would need to compete with other local and statewide transportation needs. The Maine Turnpike Authority is planning an upgrade to Exit 32 that could be important to a new road: a short spur between the Exit 32 ramps and Route 111 west of the Exit 32 intersection. This upgrade will reduce pressure on that intersection by funneling off vehicles exiting the Turnpike and heading west on Route 111. A new road would also provide an alternate route to the downtown via South Street.
Is a new road the only possibility to improve safety and traffic congestion?
No. The study will look at five possible alternatives. Some could be combined; two include a new connector road.
- A No-Build alternative that includes the planned MTA Exit 32 improvements (see map above) and no new road.
- A Transportation Demand Management (TDM) alternative, which reduces or redistributes the timing of travel. Examples include public transit, carpooling, vanpooling, ridesharing, walking, and cycling.
- A Transportation System Management (TSM) alternative, which increases road capacity without significantly increasing the size of the road. Examples include improving traffic signal timing, adding turn lanes and lengthening merge lanes.
- A new connector road alternative without the planned MTA Exit 32 improvements.
- A new connector road alternative with the MTA Exit 32 planned improvements.
What will the evaluation process look like? What will be evaluated?
For each of the five alternatives, the study will assess:
- Vehicle traffic forecasts for the study area forward to 2045 and how each alternative would affect traffic volumes, safety and efficiency of travel in the area
- Potential impacts on and specific recommendations for area intersections
- Potential impacts on and benefits to neighborhood integrity and community character
- Impacts to bicycle and pedestrian facilities
- Evaluation of potential environmental impacts and benefits, and potential permitting options
How will a decision be made as to whether a new connector road will be built?
The study will result in a final report that will outline the benefits and drawbacks of each of the alternatives listed above. It will also include information on the approximate cost of moving ahead with each of the alternatives. It will then be up to the City of Biddeford and MaineDOT to determine if and when additional work to gain a permit for a new road -- or to prepare for any of the other alternatives -- should go forward. Feedback from the community will contribute to this decision and as noted above, a broad-based public outreach effort will take place during the time the study is underway.
When will the study be completed?
The study will be completed by the end of 2022.