Thursday, January 31, 2002

Eight Corners intersection getting better

Published in the Current

Maine’s Department of Transportation still lists Scarborough’s Eight Corners as the third worst intersection in the state, but according to neighbors and town officials, highway improvements have made the once notorious spot much safer.

“It’s better than it ever was,” said Peter Walsh Jr., who runs the Eight Corners Market.

Department of Transportation engineer, Ralph Webster, said construction done in 2000 was intended to reduce accidents and move traffic along more efficiently.

The project widened the roads, improving visibility, and added a traffic light at the Route 114-Mussey Road intersection.

It seems to have worked. “We were getting three or four (accidents) a week,” Walsh said of the time before the construction. In an interview in mid-December, he said he hadn’t seen an accident in three weeks.

Deputy Fire Chief Anthony Attardo said his information agrees with Walsh’s assessment. He characterized the traffic at Eight Corners as “going great.” Scarborough’s public safety dispatch records indicate that there were no accidents at Eight Corners between Dec. 1 and Dec. 29.

And Eight Corners isn’t the only improved intersection in town, Attardo said. “They really have made some progress over the past couple of years.”

According to DOT data compiled from 1998 through 2000, the intersection at Spring Street and Mussey Road is the second worst intersection in the state. The state treats Eight Corners as two separate road junctions. Factoring in the lower accident numbers at the nearby Route 114 and Mussey Road intersection, Eight Corners overall comes in third, behind two major intersections in Augusta.

Of the seven Scarborough intersections on the state’s problem list, three are on Route 114, where the highway crosses Mussey Road, Running Hill Road and Payne Road.

Holmes Road is also a dangerous place, with problems at Broadturn Road and Beech Ridge Road.

Attardo said the addition of traffic lights at the intersection of Broadturn and Holmes roads has helped there, and the widening project on the Maine Turnpike has reduced accidents there as well.

The state rates intersections based on three years of statistics, so it may take some time before the documents reflect the improvements.