The town’s plan to paint “advisory shoulders” on Basin Point Road is on hold pending a Federal Highway Administration review of the experimental striping pattern.
The Harpswell Select Board had voted to adopt the striping pattern in an effort to curb speeding on the road.
But Town Administrator Kristi Eiane said the town has learned that federal approval for such projects is “on hold while the Federal Highway Administration reviews and evaluates data relative to this experimental treatment.”
The Federal Highway Administration’s Maine office told the town it would not recommend painting the shoulders without agency approval. “From a liability standpoint it would not be wise for the Town to move forward,” Eiane said in an email on Monday, June 12.
As a result, the town has delayed the striping until the Federal Highway Administration provides further guidance, Eiane said. The Select Board will likely revisit the issue.
The advisory shoulders pattern uses dashed lines to delineate one center lane for vehicles to travel in both directions, with shoulders for bicycles and pedestrians on either side.
When vehicles approach in opposite directions, they can move to either side of the road and pass each other if there are no bicycles or pedestrians on the road. If bicycles or pedestrians are present, one vehicle must pull to the side and allow the other to pass.
The town’s traffic engineer says the pattern “complicates the road” and encourages motorists to slow down.
Neighborhood residents have come out in support of the plan, while Harpswell’s road commissioner has expressed concern about the pattern causing accidents and traffic delays.