The widening of Route 3 and a plan to buy a former ferry terminal and its pier (background) are among the ways Bar Harbor hopes to improve traffic flow. Credit: Nick Sambides Jr.

Motorists tired of a detour around one of Mount Desert Island’s most ambitious road projects are getting a break for Thanksgiving Day weekend.

But the reprieve will end Monday.

In recognition of the likely increase in holiday traffic, the Maine Department of Transportation on Tuesday started allowing two-way traffic over a stretch of Route 3 near downtown Bar Harbor and Acadia National Park that has been inbound-only since last summer, said Ted Talbot, the department’s spokesman.

Route 3 is the island’s busiest road and plugs into the heart of Bar Harbor, the island’s biggest municipality. The removal of the road blocks came at a good time, at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday just before that afternoon’s snowstorm, Bar Harbor police Lt. David Kerns said.

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Nobody particularly has liked the construction work, but Bar Harbor police have fielded relatively few complaints about it, Kerns said.

“The DOT did a really good job as far as marking it [the road work and detour] with signage,” Kerns said Wednesday. “I think people recognized the necessity of doing the construction, but I am sure that they are glad that it is back open to two-way traffic.”

Route 3 had been closed to traffic heading out of downtown from Crooked Road to the intersection with Route 233, with a lengthy detour over several roads that eventually led westward toward Ellsworth.

Construction, and one-way roadblocks surrounding it, will resume Monday, according to the transportation department’s schedule available at

Begun in January 2016 and expected to last 2½ years, the $17.9 million construction project involves reconstructing a 4.8-mile section of Route 3. The work remains on schedule, Talbot said.

At the moment, contractors are working to shape and loam shoulders from Acadia to the bluffs section of Route 3 about 1,000 feet from the park entrance near Hulls Cove. They will soon install new guardrail and road signs along Route 3, weather permitting, Talbot said.

When completed, the road will have paved shoulders for bicyclists and pedestrians, some new sidewalks, improved existing sidewalks upgraded to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements and safer crossings, Talbot said.

A new multiuse path will run along an expanded part of Route 3, and the intersection at Mount Desert and West streets will be improved, as will Route 3’s overall drainage and runoff management, Talbot said.