Author Topic: Wiscasset Bypass  (Read 3122 times)

Ed Lecuyer

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Wiscasset Bypass
« on: January 25, 2009, 07:45:04 PM »
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Wiscasset Bypass has been converted from the pre-July 2008 WW&F Discussion Forum.
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Mike Fox wrote:
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Yesterday, the State of Maine revealed some preliminary studies to a potential bypass of Wiscasset. There were 3 basic ideas for this. Do nothing, bridge the wide part of the Sheepscot river, or skirt the river on the north edge.
The last 2 options have the potential to impact the museum in a good way. Either one of these will put traffic on the North side of Wiscasset and could potentially make it easier for the general public to find us.
They also said that this could cost in the neighborhood of 65 million dollars and wont be built for 10, 15 or even 20 years.
One possible drawback would be the possibility the grade will be destroyed in the area the bypass goes. But in order to reap the riches, some sacrafices must be made.
Mike

elecuyer replied:
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Any online links to the actual study?

Clark's Trading Post, when faced with their potential ROW being cut off by Route 93, put in a blitz to extend their track to the site - forcing the highway to build a bridge over them. They never got any further than that, and their train ride ends right under the Route 93 bridge!

I wonder if we could do something similar?

Mike Fox replied:
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Here is a link http://www.wiscasset-me.gov/vertical/Sites/%7B51162068-1CC0-4DEC-B8E2-B5191FF8734A%7D/uploads/%7B53FB1263-1594-47DA-901B-B96F06027353%7D.PDF
And it looks like there are more choices than the news said last night.
Mike

John McNamara replied:
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I have always hoped that they would select option N2a, as that goes north of the two or three houses on the ROW. While it would be nice for the sake of history, and for offering connecting trains to the rest of the USA, to get to Wiscasset, I've always felt that a "Bypass Station" with a large parking lot would be a great (and almost realistic) future for the WW&F.

Bill Reidy replied:
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It is my understanding that the Town of Alna has requested that there be no Route 218 exit on the bypass.  If that's the case, I would think the bypass would not be of any great benefit to the museum.

Bill

Joe Fox replied:
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Hopefully there is an exit on the bypass to 218, for a little more buisness, both for the W, W, & F, and other buinesses in Alna.

Joe

Bill Sample replied:
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Most of us know all about the traffic problems on U S 1 through Wiscasset which seem to go on for most of the year, so it's easy to see why MDOT wants to do something about it.  Thanks for bringing us up to date, Mike.
With the long advance planning I'm sure more changes will be made over time.
My feelings are like John's - this location is a good realistic goal for the future southward expansion.  We should also do our best to keep the right of way from being destroyed so that Joe Fox's retirement project could be to extend the trackage south into Wiscasset
Seriously, I did hear some talk a year or so ago that the by-pass project had sparked some interest in the WW&F again running into Wiscasset by some of the residents or business people downtown.

James Patten replied:
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Seriously, I did hear some talk a year or so ago that the by-pass project had sparked some interest in the WW&F again running into Wiscasset by some of the residents or business people downtown.

I haven't heard that at all (at least in the newspaper), but then again I don't frequent Wiscasset much.

Actually one of the real estate agents wants the town to remove some WW&F easements from some properties (plural) which the town apparently overlooked when they cleaned out the rest of the WW&F easements years ago.  These properties are at the north end of town.

Mike Fox replied:
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John, I like the Bypass station idea. Lets hope the State puts an off ramp at 218 and it would be perfect. Most likley, Alna has requested no exit on 218 to keep traffic on 218 at a minimum. Only time will tell what the final outcome will be. We will just have to work with what is done.
Mike

Dave Olszewski replied:
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Hi Mike,

I like that bypass plan. I hope they will have it soon instead of 10 year or 25 years. Also it is good idea to have Bypass Station, too. It would bring more visitor to WW&F RR. I am tired of bad traffic at Wiscasset during Summer.

Dave

jockellis replied:
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I hope someone will keep and scan a copy of the article. It would be good to point out in the next grant application the museum makes that this will be bringing many more people near the railroad and would give the granting authority more bang for its buck due to the additional carriage trade passing close by already (once the road is built).
Jock Ellis
Cumming, GA

NGFan replied:
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It would be very interesting to get a copy of the DOT traffic counts which they are using for the bypass study.  For projects of this magnitude, one is usually looking at 10,000+ (counts) per day.  In other words, the number of vehicles passing a specific point on the ground.  At 10,000 plus, one is looking at 100-200 potential visitor vehicles per day if one has an access directly in view from the roadway.  This is using well established tourist attraction data of 1-2% of traffic count.  The BOD would be well advised to keep an ear very close to the ground and be in a position to reclaim/acquire a site just off the bypass ROW as this would end up being a potential "gold mine" of visitors.

John

Josh Botting replied:
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Gotta remember, things are smaller up here.

I really doubt that 10k vehicles a day pass rt 1.  The issue on rt1 is the toursit traffic.  Wiscassett is not too much of an issue through the winter, however in the summer there is a siginficant trafic increase, 20% toursit  or so.   The issue in Wiscassett is the 5 mile bumber to bumber traffic jams in the summer, caused by the region of 25 mph speed, and more siginficantly people crossing the road in down town Wiscassette, to get to Red's Eats.

Most of the oter towns in the area have had the infrastructure improvements to ease the backups.  Bath got the new Bridge, which has greatly improved traffic, and Damarascotta has its pass.  While Wiscassetts will be a big project, it is the last major bypass needed in the area.  And all of us will be happy when it is done!

James Patten replied:
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I think the largest number of counts "by passing" Wiscasset is in the 8-9000 range - it goes down from there.

NGFan replied:
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James, if we are looking at 9,000/day, this is still very good.  Add to this that the traffic is seasonal is also good, tourists are always looking for something to do and when would the museum want to have most of its traffic?  Summer of course..........  Keep the winter activites for the local residents, its better that way........

At 9,000 that's 90-180 car/day x 2.3 occupants/vehicle.  Potential 210-415 fares / day.  Say $5.00/ticket - $1,000+/day easy........

As someone once told me, "that ain't chick'n feed".

John

Mike Fox replied:
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Potential 210-415 fares / day.

Wow. Might have to build another car! Taconnette anyone?
Mike

Jon Chase replied:
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Optimistic numbers aside (which do not factor in things like increased coal consumption, increased wear and tear on the locomotive, or even the ability of the current motive power to handle a third coach) there is, then, the cost of a new coach itself.  Or perhaps two new coaches, since I'm not sure running #3 on every train is in the best interest of its own preservation. I'm all for building replicas of the Taconnet, the Vasselboro, or any other cars, but I suspect that these would come about only through significant fundraising, bequests, etc., not fare revenue.

Then there's the "be careful what you wish for" factor.  I.e., at what point would increased ridership result in such increased operating costs, equipment and staffing needs that it would no longer be possible to rely on volunteer crews?  Then the numbers look a lot different ....

Also (just to widen the discussion to a few more aspects of this "Wiscasset Bypass" plan), it seems to me that it was noted some time ago that the Town of Alna opposed any interchange at Rte. 218 (and thus the possibility of a WW&F "Bypass Station.")  I'm not sure of the reasons behind the Town's position, but it's fairly easy to imagine that it has something to do with the same ease of access for large numbers of motorists that others in this thread have predicted.  Sure, this would probably result in more cups of coffee sold at the Alna Store.  But it would also result in increased residential development pressure all along the present and (likely) future restored portion of the WW&F.  How about a nice crop of houses in those fields at Alna Center for all the additional riders to appreciate?

Whatever the Alna town officials are "officially" thinking, I'll bet they recognize that increased ease of access means increased residential development- and, hand-in-hand, increased demands on education spending that each new household will not make up for in taxes.  To be sure, you could deal with some of this through the zoning process (but rules that would truly hold development at bay, like a 20-acre minimum lot size, are unlikely to be held to be reasonable by reviewing courts).  Plus, even the most thoughtful zoning regulations could very easily be changed in the future, depending on how the political winds blow.

One pretty effective way to minimize development pressure along Route 218 through Alna is not to have a bypass interchange.  This would certainly run contrary to some of the hopes of WW&F prosperity pinned on a "Bypass Station."  But again, maybe we should be careful what we wish for.

Jon Chase

John McNamara replied:
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You have brought up several good points. Many people view new homes as the source of additional tax revenue, but the real story is that for every additional $1 that new homes contribute in tax revenue, the town's expenses increase by at least $1.10.

Further, it is becoming increasing clear that large lot sizes are a two-edged sword. Yes, they limit growth in numbers, but they also introduce sprawl, which is both unsightly and expensive in terms of public services. Some believe that the proper thing is the old fashioned village concept, where the homes are close together and for each home there is a corresponding amount of preserved open space away from the town center.

It is unlikely, moreover, that zoning would solve any problems, as I think a majority of New Englanders feel that they should be permitted to do anything they want to with their land without restriction. They feel that if they want to sell the "back 40" to developers, they should not have to answer to anyone.

Most important, at the WW&F, we must also beware of the possibility that new homes mean new NIMBYs.

James Patten replied:
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Jon Chase has it right on the money - the official reason for Alna selectmen not wanting an exit on 218 from the bypass is not wanting increased development pressure.

Right now the town has a few ways of making sure a big development project does not happen, but that hasn't prevented a number of new houses going in along 218 in the ten+ years that I've been at the railroad.

Mike Fox replied:
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Sprawl is going to happen, no matter what anyone does. People are willing to commute a long ways to work now as compared to even 20 years ago. With the town not wanting the exit, might help them control it for the short term but in the long run, if people want to move there, they will. Who wouldn't love to live in a peacefull little town like that.
Mike

James Patten replied:
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The "problem" is the "peaceful little town" has no industry and no stores to speak of.  I can see someone trying to bring in a Maritime Farm or Cumberland Farm store, complete with gas station, open 24/7.  Won't that change the nature of the town!

Stephen Hussar replied:
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This is my biggest fear. Does Alna have a planning board? We beat Home Depot by making the developer wish he'd never bought the property  Our planning board gave them the ok, but placed so many restrictions and rules [+$$$] that it became an unworkable situation and Home Depot corporate (the only "big-box" tenant they could ever attract) pulled out!!

But they have deep pockets. Next time I come to the museum I will bring their proposal, which weighs nearly 20 lbs.

NGFan replied:
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All good points guys:
Increased operating costs - yes
Need for more equipment - yes
Need for more ROW maint. - yes
If you don't - long-term growth - no
The ridership estimates are actually "real world" percentages that travel people use - worked in the business, I know......
As for the sprawl and development issues that is a whole other "nut".  My home township/county was hit full-force over 10years ago.  We've tried ordinances, laws, restricting highway development, etc.  Did it work - Nope!!!!  The only thing that has preserved land was buying development rights and / or mineral rights by the township or county.  But that costs tax dollars - who wants increased taxes for preservation - a very hard sell.  Compared to down here - Wiscasset land and taxes are dirt cheap.  What does that mean?  Development is coming - only a matter of time...............

John

Paul Levesque replied:
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Really all Alna can hope for is the delay of a Rt. 218 exit.  With an increase of people driving through the pleasing 'typical' new england countryside they are going to start seeking out the area on their own.  Then they start moving in and settling and commuting down Rt. 218 into Wiscasset to get to Rt. 1, eventually the state studys its traffic count and determines that it is more reasonable to move traffic comming from Alna and Whitefield onto the bypass both for reasons of public safety and maintenance.

The MTA added a next exit on the pike a few years ago in Sabattus, and there is currently a by-pass being built in Gorham to contend with the rapid expansion of residential development in the Sebego Lake region putting great strains on downtown Gorham.

Joe Fox replied:
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The current locomotive can handle a three car passenger train, especially with the current grades, etc. By the time we can haul a three car train, I believe #9 will be in service, and I am guessing that could pull at least four cars up the mountain.

Back on topic again, I read in an online paper, when I find it again I will post a link here on the forum, that said the solution to the traffic problem is all ready there. THE RAILROAD. The article also said something to the extent of, many of the cars on route 1 are tourists, however, the railroad could get rid of the local traffic going to Rockland. They brought up several good points.

Joe

James Patten replied:
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Alna does have a planning board - in fact we are going to have a 5-year site update with them this year.

At the risk of hijacking the thread, many local Midcoast towns along Rt 1 a couple of years ago put up development size caps so to keep the big box stores (namely Walmart) out.  So far it has worked, Walmart pulled out and no other big box has tried to come in.  I'm just waiting for someone to propose building on a lot which is 3 corners of 3 towns, each fitting under the limit but overall much larger than the limit.

Stephen Hussar replied:
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Yes, we also have a cap on sq. footage, but the developer kept at the planning and zoning boards for a special permit to build larger....and as I said it was eventually approved -- but with a multitude of conditions that were impossible to meet 

I guess Alna needs a cap then...I'd recommend one just above the size of a 120' long, 2-track wide car storage building 

Mike Fox replied:
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120' long should not be a problem. Some chicken barns were that long.
Mike

ETSRRCo replied:
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Then there's the "be careful what you wish for" factor.  I.e., at what point would increased ridership result in such increased operating costs, equipment and staffing needs that it would no longer be possible to rely on volunteer crews?  Then the numbers look a lot different ....

I would not worry about a volunteer crew being unable to keep up with 300-400 riders a day. I am a member of the New Jersey Museum of Transportation/Pine Creek Railroad (three foot gauge) in New Jersey. We are and all volunteer railroad and 400 passengers is a normal day for us. During the Christmas season we will see around 800 passengers a day. The highest amount I personally have seen was 1,150 passengers in one day. There was a car show in the park and we ran trains till 6:30PM two hours after the last scheduled train. Our railfan weekend saw almost 1,600 passengers this year if I remember correctly. Normal crew is engineer (when the park opens the overflow parking lot in the middle of our loop we have a look out posted in the cab along with the engineer. Dam SUVs cant wait 10 seconds for a train to pass), a conductor (busier days a brakeman), platform watch and a ticket agent. We do just fine so I am sure that the WW&F would have no problems.

Eric
_________________
Eric Bolton
East Tigard & Southern Railroad Co 1889-1958

Joe Fox replied:
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Hey everybody,

I found that article I was talking about. Here it is,

http://bangornews.com/news/t/viewpoints.aspx?articleid=158423&zoneid=35

It is very interesting, and several good points are mentioned. Now imagine, if this actually happined, and passenger revenue rose dramatically in Wiscasset, and say the WW&F was to reach the Maine Eastern, a near impossible dream, but lets say it could happen, we could haul passengers to there houses along the line at their driveways, road crossings, etc. Wouldn't that be a site.

Joe

Jon Chase replied:
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Eric, I agree that WW&F weekend volunteer crews can no doubt easily handle such ridership, assuming sufficient rolling stock, scheduling, and visitor facilities.  I should have been more clear that my comments were directed to the weekdays.  We were talking about "daily traffic counts" and the golden opportunity this would represent ... or perhaps not.

I recall that in the past there was discussion about having local volunteers available during the week in summertime to give tours to whoever happens to show up.  In my own case, it was Harry Percival who took the time to do so when I first found my way in from Rte. 1, and even gave me a ride in the SR&RL Model T to the then-existing head of steel at the far end of ****eye Curve.  But such hospitality requires the availability of members who are retired or otherwise do not have to work.  Add to this the advertised, scheduled operation of trains, and the idea of taking advantage of such crowds pouring out of a bypass exit every day quickly seems overwhelming.  I'm curious, does the Pine Creek Railroad handle such crowds with fully-volunteer crews every day throughout the summer months, or were you talking about Christmas weekends only?  I suspect that the WW&F train crews also handle such special-event passenger numbers in stride.

Joe, with regard to #10's pulling capacity, I was looking ahead to the day when each train will be climbing "The Mountain."  Rail availability notwithstanding, I suspect that day will come sooner than the completion of any Wiscasset bypass, with or without a Rte. 218 interchange.  See you at the Spring track weekend!

Jon Chase

Josh Botting replied:
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We certainly struggle to handel the halloween and Christmas crowds. On an insane Halloween weekend we would see 800 riders.

John McNamara replied:
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The thing that is especially difficult about Halloween is that all of it takes place  in three or four hours, mostly in the dark.

Joe Fox replied:
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Hey Jon Chase,

Thanks for the clarification on the mountain and #10's pulling capacity. There has been talk, that when trains go down the mountain, #9 will be used for those trains. Hopefully by the time trains go all the way to 218, the trains can be three cars long, instead of just two. Talk to you guys later.

Joe

ETSRRCo replied:
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I'm curious, does the Pine Creek Railroad handle such crowds with fully-volunteer crews every day throughout the summer months, or were you talking about Christmas weekends only?  I suspect that the WW&F train crews also handle such special-event passenger numbers in stride.
Jon Chase

During the summer a typical nonspecial event Saturday will see anywhere between 200-500 passengers. It all depends on the weather. Cloudy not to nice weather is much better for us in the summer. Being only 20mins from the beach can hurt you when the weather is nice. However weekday operations in July and August is different. This is paid staff who runs these. All are members but the organization pays them for their troubles. An engineer, conductor and ticket agent. Summer weekdays show 200 riders on a good day and a bad day will see 10 to none. All depends on the weather. Our Train Robbery in July saw around 800 riders this past year. The car show when we had over 1,000 in a day is in August. There was a wine tasting festivalin the park (for those who dont know NJMT is in a State Park) this year in August I think it was and we did around 800 a day again. We were (not sure where we stand now) the fifth largest passenger hauler of tourist railroads in the US with only operations like the WP&Y, Strasburg, Durango & Silverton, Grande Canyon Railway and I think Great Smokey Mountain ahead of us. We might only have a 3/4mile loop of track but we haul a lot of people usually over the 50,000 a year range. Its all location location location.

-Eric
_________________
Eric Bolton
East Tigard & Southern Railroad Co 1889-1958

jockellis replied:
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Well, that article in the June 12 issue of the Newspaper was nice, but the one above it on the website about the Wiscasset bypass was important. Do we know any more about this important piece of construction than what was in the article about the public hearing? Did any member attend this meeting?
Jock Ellis

Josh Botting replied:
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These discussions have been going on for as long as I can remember.  I would be very supprised to see any action in the next 10 yrs.  Especially as broke as this state is now.  Would be nice though....

o anderson replied:
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From the article, June 12th:

"Clement said his agency agrees with MDOT and the Federal Highway Administration that the three routes, N8C, F1 and N2A are favored over F2 and N2H, but the Corps has to determine if N2A is the least environmentally damaging alternative. Until that happens the other two routes will still be under consideration, Clement said."

"The `preferred' route is N2A, the longest of the five routes, which all begin on Route 1 near the NAPA auto parts store and the Old Bath Road, cross the Bradford Road, Church Street, Route 27 and Route 218. N2A is the longest of the routes, at 4.8 miles, and would go through an upscale subdivision now under development by Doug Fitts and Brett Benway."

So it sounds like N2A is the most cost effective and least environmentally damaging of the studies.  But I don't know.  It looks like they are waiting on the Corps decision to be the final justification.

Here is the best geographic description I have found.  I don't know what this looks like.  Pay close attention to this.  You may not want to go down and lay track across where the road goes, so that you will have a bridge built in your favor.... just a thought.

NGFan replied:
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Hey guys,

(ALERT) What is the status of the ROW in the vicinity of the N2A option?  The thing to remember is if you have a claim, then they (DOT) must make allowances to keep the ROW passable via bridge, etc.  If not, they will just plow it over with bulldozers and pave it and then in the future if you want to go through - you pay for the bridge/crossing - not them!!!!!!
I went through this drill with another museum some years ago and it wasn't pretty......
Another point - have been hearing that Maine Eastern is expanding and business has been VERY good.  Wouldn't it make sense to do some joint marketing with them using the Wiscasset station stop?  Pie in the sky would be to reestablish a connection in Wiscasset, but I know that is not in the 5 year plan.  But maybe it should be in a 10-15 year plan.......

John

elecuyer replied:
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It appears that the ROW in that area is pretty compromised. If I understand it correctly, there is at least one house built on or very close to the ROW in that general area (which is about 1600' south of the Wiscasset 218 crossing.) I also believe that the Museum/W&Q does not own any ROW in Wiscasset.

Now, nothing is impossible, but going south of the 218 crossing in Wiscasset down to the waterfront is going to be very, very difficult - regardless of the bypass location.

-Ed Lecuyer

Stephen Hussar replied:
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Ed Lecuyer sent these earlier today, thanks Ed!



James Patten replied:
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N8c makes no sense IMHO as it requires another super long bridge like the one that's there.

N2a may disrupt a house that's below the grade on Old Sheepscot Rd.  Look's like it's between Clark's Point and Old Sheepscot, where the grade is immediately below Rt 218.

NGFan replied:
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James,

Does the museum own any part of the ROW around Old Sheepscot Rd?  This could be a really good situation for a claim with DOT.  If not, is there any way to get our hands on a piece of this ROW section?

Secondly, can you address any efforts to joint-market WW&F with Maine Eastern?  Realize it would involve some sort of "jitney" to get people from Wiscasset to Alna, but it might evolve into a steady business for the Museum.

John

Mike Fox replied:
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I had found a map that showed the actual routes. But now I have found this one. Shows the final 3 routes.
http://www.wiscassetroute1corridor.com/images/three_bypass%20routes.jpg
Mike

Wayne Laepple replied:
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I haven't seen any cost estimates on this project. Does anyone know the numbers, adjusted for inflation? A similar project just a few miles from here is pegged at $300 million, including the cost of a half-mile long, 230-foot high bridge over the Susquehanna River. No way the state or local taxes are gonna pay for that! Even the Federal Highway Administration is balking at the projected cost.  By the time it's built, we will all be riding our horses and bicycles on it, because we won't be able to afford gasoline!

Mike Fox replied:
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A quote from a Portland Press Herald article, dated October 30, 2007.

"A bypass around Wiscasset village could cost up to $79 million and take at least another 10 years to build."

Just seven years ago they were saying it would cost more than $50 Million.
I still think $79 Million is low.
Mike

James Patten replied:
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Project cost ranges from somewhere around $60 - $95 million for all the options that were floated.  I don't know what the costs for these 3 projects are.

We only own one piece of land in Wiscasset, right above the middle school.  N8c is probably far enough north of it not to disturb it.

Stephen Hussar replied:
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can you address any efforts to joint-market WW&F with Maine Eastern?  Realize it would involve some sort of "jitney" to get people from Wiscasset to Alna, but it might evolve into a steady business for the Museum. John

September 12 – 14. RAIL PHOTOGRAPHER’S WEEKEND. MAINE EASTERN RAILROAD.
Friday evening – 3 hour Special Excursion train from Brunswick, ME to Rockland, ME with twilight photo opportunities and meets with regularly scheduled trains. Saturday’s highlight is a rare mileage trip over the former Maine Central “Lower Road” toward Augusta with meets and out of the way photo opportunities (box lunch included). Dinner at Rockland’s Union Station Grille will offer selections from vintage Maine Central RR menus (not included in price). A night photo session will be held at the historic Rockland station and the restored Rockland Roundhouse. Sunday features a special freight run in the morning and the opportunity to shadow the regularly scheduled excursion train. Discount tickets available for the Maine Eastern Railroad and Wiscasset, Waterville, and Farmington two foot steam powered railroad. Family activities available in Rockland. $199. Morristown & Erie Railway, PO Box 2206, Morristown, NJ 07962. 973.267.4300. mailto:CharterServices@merail.com. <a href="http://www.maineeasternrailroad.com" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">http://www.maineeasternrailroad.com</a>

Josh Botting replied:
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When all is said and done I suspect that the cost would be signifcantly higher than predictes, more close to Wayne's number.  There some unique engineering challenges with crossing the Sheepscot.  Alot is dependant on which route is taken, and how much influince the NYMBY's have on the process.

gordon cook replied:
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IMHO:
Those alternatives routes look to be 3-4 times the distance of the current route, and so the average speed would have to be 3-4 times faster than it is now to actually improve the traffic situation. For some of the time that might be true, but it's a lot of money for a few less hours of backed up traffic.
I'd be surprised if it will ever happen for a lot of reasons, not the least of which is that it would make a mess out of most of the area surrounding Wiscassett over into Edgecomb. That is going to create a storm of local opposition. Some other reasons are:
1: It's only purpose is to alleviate the summer season's traffic, and isn't needed 8-9 months out of the year. Since local folks know how and when to avoid most of the backups it mainly benefits tourists and truckers.
2: It doesn't help the traffic bottlenecks elsewhere (Brunswick, Bath, Waldeboro, etc.)
3: Rising energy costs make summer traffic less of a problem as people adapt to the reality of $100 fill-ups.
4. It undercuts real passenger rail service now and in the future.
5: The money could be used to extend passenger train service from Portland to Brunswick, which becomes more likely as gas and diesel prices go higher.
6. Real (i.e. not PanAm) freight service also would take some of the trucks off Rt. 295 and Rt. 1.

So I think it becomes more and more obvious that expanded rail service is the clear, low-cost, low impact traffic solution for all of the coastal towns.
_________________
Gawdon

Josh Botting replied:
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I am ready for the by pass! Traffic was backed up past Ames Supply, past the motor lodge, and all the way to Shaw's tonight.  Thats about 4 miles of stopped traffic.  I realize thats not bad to some of you from away, but up here it is TERRIBLE.  Glad I was going the other way.........

James Patten replied:
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The traffic backup is probably a good thing - it means tourist dollars are flowing into Maine.

gordon cook replied:
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I was just thinking that  $70 -$90 million would buy a nice, shiny new steam engine or 2 and some nice shiny new coaches.

Hey, we can dream!!!
_________________
Gawdon
Ed Lecuyer
Moderator, WW&F Forum