Maine DOT to host third stakeholder meeting in Caribou

Published: Nov. 14, 2023 at 8:42 AM EST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

AROOSTOOK COUNTY, Maine (WAGM) - The Maine Department of Transportation has hosted two stakeholder meetings looking at potential improvements to Aroostook County infrastructure.

Maine DOT Commissioner Bruce Van Note says these meetings are opening dialogue between the Maine DOT and the Aroostook County public. “Mostly listening in terms of needs and desires of the County, but also us letting them know of what we’re doing, what we’re planning on doing, and what we can do,” says Commissioner Van Note.

The last meeting, which was held in Fort Kent in October, focused on what work is currently being done in Aroostook County, and asked the public for input on specific areas that need improvement. “Those were two big pieces of progress: what we’re already doing and kind of pivoting to what can we do,” Commissioner Van Note recalls. “What more can do we do and what improvements to existing facilities should we be looking at?”

Another big talking point at the meeting was about extending Interstate 95 to the St. John Valley. Due to the $3 billion cost of the project it is unlikely that this extension will happen, according to the commissioner.

“We’d have to take all the money that we’d spend on all every highway and bridge project for the next 4 or 5 years to do this one thing,” explains Commissioner Van Note. “Even if the $3 billion fell from the sky, I think there’s general consensus that, you know, maybe we can improve existing infrastructure and get a lot more bang for the buck and have it happen.”

Members of the Maine DOT express the importance of the public attending the next stakeholder meeting, which will be held on Tuesday, November 14 at 10am at the Caribou Wellness and Recreation Center.

Andrew Bickmore, the Director of results and Information Office at the Maine DOT, encourages the public to come to the meeting prepared for discussion. “Be willing to participate with ideas of what could improve the transportation system in Aroostook County,” Bickmore says.

“Local knowledge is important,” Bickmore continues. “Obviously people that drive the road every single day have knowledge that we couldn’t possibly have.”

“There’s no bad idea in a meeting like this,” says Commissioner Van Note. “We may not be able to do them all but if you have a specific idea it would be great to come and let us know.”

The meeting in Caribou is the last in-person stakeholder meeting, while the final meeting will be held in December remotely.