Maine Department of Transportation traffic engineers would like to eliminate the jughandle on U.S. Route 1 in Belfast. Credit: Brent Shanding

The quirky traffic feature known as a “jughandle” is not especially common in Maine. However, there is one short right-hand loop road at the intersection of Route 1 and Northport Avenue in Belfast.

Jughandles are designed to prevent left turns across traffic. But the Maine Department of Transportation traffic engineers have singled out the one in Belfast for removal.

We went to the BDN comments section and Facebook to see what you all had to say — and we found a bunch of opinions. Here is a selection of your responses:

“A roundabout in that location would be far safer.”


“Get rid of it! The design is treacherous in that location.”


“They’re weird but they work. In NC and SC they make heavy use of the ‘no left turn on divided highway’ device, where one must turn right and make a u turn to go in the desired direction.”

-Patrick Richards

“There is no need for the jughandle. Install a left hand turn lane going southbound on US1 and a deceleration lane going northbound on US1 going into Northport Avenue. Problem solved. Leave the jughandle for snow plow turn around only. Now, if the MDOT would like to explain to the taxpayers why they removed a perfectly good sign strung over US1 denoting US1 southbound and Route 3 to Augusta and replacing it with the monstrosity of a huge pole and a structural arm over the roadway costing up to

$ 60,000, yet they can’t paint the rusting bridge overpass at Route 3 and clean up the graffiti. MDOT is always pleading that they don’t have enough money for truly needy projects, yet they blow $60k on this sign.”


“Leave it as is! If people were driving the speed limit and using turn signals, there wouldn’t be issues with it.”

-Jane A. Liedtke

“I’ve never quite figured out why they thought it was safer to make left turners cross over two lanes of traffic instead of only having to cross one.

If a change needs to be made, I don’t think we need to be hiring expensive traffic engineers to figure this one out. Simply remove the sign that prohibits left-hand turns and let drivers do what they already do everywhere else: use the break-down lane to get around people who are waiting to turn left.”


“I hope they do get rid of it. That is a major route for people headed to the hospital, at times in emergency situations. In an emergency, many people are NOT going to use that senseless roundabout jug handle that delays getting to the ER.

And while we’re at it, how about lights for turning left into town off Route/under the overpass? I’ve almost been wiped out by sooo many people who are sick of what can be a lengthy wait to turn.”

-Mandy Seekins Wood

“What I find more frightening on Route 1 as it passes around Belfast is that bicyclists are allowed on that stretch. The Route 1 by-pass is like an Interstate highway. Bicyclists ride on the shoulder and block people from exiting the road. Bicycle riders should be directed into town.”


“Yikes—that’s going to lead to a lot of rear-end collisions. I hate the jug handle! Rt 1 needs a dedicated left-turn-only land there.”


“I don’t understand how a difficult place to cross one lane of traffic is improved by having to cross both lanes.”

-Scott Bennett