On January 4th, 2013, Cianbro Corporation Program Manager Darryl Brown and GIS / Engineering Coordinator Cory Verrill met with representatives of Downeast Lakes Land Trust to provide an update on the proposed East-West Highway corridor.
The Cianbro proposal is for a privately-financed toll highway extending across Maine from Calais to Coburn Gore. Company officials hope to boost shipping across Maine, the Northeastern states and Atlantic Canada.
An exact route has not been made public, but media coverage and public statements have included reference to following the Stud Mill Road. This raised the possibility that a route would be proposed through the 312,000-acre Sunrise Easement. The Sunrise Conservation Easement is held by the New England Forestry Foundation, and a public access easement on the same acreage is held by the Maine Division of Parks and Public Lands. Supporters of Downeast Lakes Land Trust played an essential role in funding acquisition of the Sunrise Easement through contributions to the Downeast Lakes Forestry Partnership. The Sunrise Easement is comprised of multiple parcels, and extends from Forest City in the north to Cooper in the south.
Cianbro officials explained that they are looking at routes that would pass from Calais south of the Baring Unit of Moosehorn National Wildlife Refuge before turning west. The route may cross Route 9 and connect with the Stud Mill Road at a point west of the Sunrise Easement.
Cianbro is proposing to create a multiple-use recreational trail within the highway corridor, to maintain local vehicle access, and to create wildlife crossings including vegetated overpasses and underpasses. The private toll road would be open to public and commercial use and would have 6-8 interchanges along its length.
Sunrise County Economic Council is partnering with Cianbro to host two public informational meetings about the East-West Highway proposal on January 18th. The first will be at Shead High School (Band Room) in Eastport from 2:45 – 4pm. The second will be at Washington County Community College’s Assembly Room in Riverview Hall from 5:30-6:30 PM. To register for one of these informational meetings, or for more information, contact SCEC Communications Manager Will Tuell at 207-255-0983 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Both sessions are open to the public and free to attend.
The proposal has attracted both support and opposition across Maine. Cianbro Corporation is a leading Maine business that provides construction services across the Unites States. Stop The Corridor is a coalition opposed to the East-West corridor through Maine.
UPDATED Feb. 13, 2013:
Stop The Corridor (STEWC) has announced two panel presentations in Washington County on “The East-West Corridor, Why Not?”. The first will be in Calais on March 13, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, at the Washington County Community College Lecture Hall. The second will be in Machias on March 27, from 5:30 – 7:30 pm, at the University of Maine at Machias Lecture Hall in the Science Building. Panelists will include: Gene Ripley – jobs and economic impacts; Maria Girouard – water, natural resources, connecting the dots, and our relationship with the Earth; Paul Schroeder – transparency, sovereignty / local control, eminent domain, Public-Private-Partnerships; and Chris Buchanan – introductory overview, moderation.