YORK, Maine — State Sen. Dawn Hill, D-York, is filing a bill that will seek to prevent the Maine Department of Transportation from turning over maintenance of the bypass in Kittery and the entire four-lane section of Route 1 in York to the towns.

The MDOT has determined those sections have reached enough building density that the towns need to take over maintenance by the fall.

But both towns question the order, saying there haven’t been a lot of changes on these sections in recent years.

“The bypass has been the same for quite a number of years, and yet the state hasn’t pursued giving it back to Kittery until now,” Town Manager Nancy Colbert Puff said. She said the town is also concerned that the bypass is the critical entryway to the Sarah Long Bridge.

“So on one side of the bridge, the state of New Hampshire is going to maintain the bypass, and on the other side, the town of Kittery?” she said.

York Town Manager Steve Burns said the 3.5 miles of Route 1 the MDOT wants the town to take over hasn’t substantially increased in building density, either. “So why now?” he asked.

Both towns currently maintain the other stretches of Route 1 in their towns — which includes plowing, pothole repair, culvert cleaning, surface repair treatment, brush cutting and traffic signal maintenance, among other activities.

The cost to deal with these roads would be substantial. In York, selectmen decided this week that the budget will have to include some $222,000 to contract out plowing alone next winter. Kittery’s budget has still not been presented, but Colbert Puff anticipates the cost will be significant.

The state is expected to offset some of the costs, but in York’s case it is expected to pitch in only $40,000.

Hill said she was not surprised to learn the MDOT made this determination, within the context of a state government “that is trying to push more and more onto the municipalities.”

Her bill, which has not been officially filed, seeks to put a halt to the MDOT action. There is no formal appeal of the MDOT determination, so she said legislative pressure is important.

“It doesn’t mean they’re going to take it sitting down. But we can put their feet to the fire. What is the data they’re using, and how did they arrive at their conclusions? We can push back,” she said.

Democratic State Reps. Deane Rykerson of Kittery and Lydia Blume and Patricia Hymanson of York are expected to co-sponsor the bill.

“We can present a united front, and that’s going to make a difference,” Hill said.

MDOT legislative liaison Nina Fisher said the department doesn’t comment until after legislation has been filed. Hill anticipates a filing in the near future.