This time-lapse file photo from 2007 shows traffic along High Street in Ellsworth, which is one of two roads that lead from Ellsworth to MDI. Emera is cautioning motorists that a pole replacement project on Rt. 230, which is the other road that connects Ellsworth to MDI, may slow down traffic on that road next month. Credit: Gabor Degre

ELLSWORTH, Maine — For the next four weeks, motorists can expect vehicle traffic along Water Street and Bayside Road to slow down as work crews replace utility poles along a four-mile stretch of Route 230.

The road is one of only two roads, the other being Route 3, that connects Ellsworth to the head of Mount Desert Island, which is heavily visited by tourists and seasonal residents in late summer and early fall.

According to Emera, it will be replacing power poles between the R.F. Jordan & Sons property in downtown Ellsworth and Chester Jones Way off Bayside Road for much of September. The electrical distribution company encourages motorists to seek other routes while the work is being done.

“Those who must travel this route are asked to plan ahead, exercise caution and be mindful of the safety of workers along the roadside,” the company wrote in a Tuesday release. “The project aims to ensure reliable delivery of electricity to local customers as well as those on Mount Desert Island.”

Work will take place mostly between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, over the four-week period, the company added. Some work may occur on off hours or other days to accommodate the needs of businesses in the area.

Emera asks motorists to watch for signs indicating road work, and to drive safely in work zones by avoiding distractions, giving crews ample room to work and slowing down to pass workers at a safe speed.

Traffic between Ellsworth and downtown Bar Harbor has been slowed for much of the summer by an ongoing Route 3 reconstruction project on Mount Desert Island between the village of Hulls Cove and downtown Bar Harbor. That project, spearheaded by Maine Department of Transportation, is aimed at improving the road and, along part of the roadway near downtown Bar Harbor, improving pedestrian and bicycle access alongside it.

Road and roadside projects in Maine usually occur during the summer, when temperatures and weather conditions are most suitable for such work. But the summer is also when roads are most heavily used in Maine, where millions of tourists come to the state to enjoy the scenery and mild temperatures.

The seasonal Island Explorer bus service, which operates fare-free buses between Trenton and MDI and around MDI, operates each year from late June to Columbus Day. Downeast Transportation, which operates the Island Explorer system, also offers daily commuter bus service year-round, in both directions, between Ellsworth and Bar Harbor.

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Bill Trotter

A news reporter in coastal Maine for more than 20 years, Bill Trotter writes about how the Atlantic Ocean and the state's iconic coastline help to shape the lives of coastal Maine residents and visitors....