Construction vehicles work on a York Beach connector road, off Route 1 near York's Wild Kingdom, in this September 2018 file photo. Credit: Rich Beauchesne | The York Weekly

Design work is wrapping up on Short Sands Road, the connector road between Route 1 and Ridge Road in York, with the goal of opening the road in time for this summer, Public Works Superintendent Dean Lessard told selectmen Monday.

And in terms of the scope of the project, Lessard said the intersection of the road with Route 1 “will rival in size the Spur Road intersection.” The new road’s aim is to provide tourists with a direct route to the popular beach destination without clogging up other town roads.

Lessard said once contract engineering firm Ransom Consulting has completed the design work, the town will submit the report to the Maine Department of Transportation. This project would typically be under the purview of the DOT, but it has given permission for the town to administer it. Still, the department needs to approve all decisions.

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Key to the project is the traffic signal on Route 1, which is part of the scope of the project. Due to a worldwide shortage of parts, it’s unlikely that a signal can be constructed in time for the summer. As an alternative, Lessard said he’s asked the DOT to allow the town to install a temporary signal to get through the summer. Lessard said no decision has been made.

Selectman Liz Blanchard asked Lessard if he anticipated issues with the Ridge Road end of the street. He said there will be a stop sign before motorists make a left or right. “Most will be making a left, so there’s a potential we will see cueing. Ideally if this (road) is as successful as we believe it will be, sometimes in the future we will be looking at that intersection” for a possible signal.

[York is building a road to give tourists direct access to the beach]

Burns said in the next several months, the board will have to talk about signage in anticipation of the start of the summer season. People heading to Short Sands need to be directed to Short Sands Road. However, those heading to Long Sands Beach need to still through the village or Old Post to Ridge roads, because they would be traveling the wrong way for parking if they entered Long Beach Avenue from the north.

“It’s critical that people going to Long Sands aren’t going this way,” he said. So there will have to be clear signage, he said.

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