BAR HARBOR – People making their way to Bar Harbor are starting to experience short delays due to the continued construction on Route 3.
Business owners are hoping the project doesn’t affect the town’s tourist season. We spoke to some local shop owners to get their take.
It’s become an all-too familiar sound on Route 3 in Bar Harbor since late 2016. As locals and tourists begin to make their way into town as the summer months approach, crews are now resuming the estimated $17.9 million reconstruction project. Leaving business owners wondering how it will affect traffic outside and inside of town.
Sagegrass owner Susan Stanley is worried that visitors that don’t know about the construction may be put off by travel delays. She said “It’s going to lead to some aggravation for our visitors … So I feel bad about that.”
Being the first summer in Bar Harbor that traffic will be impacted by this project. Stanley said “I worry that when they leave, they’re going to give bad reviews because they are going to have a bad time getting on and off the island.”
Down the street at the Bar Harbor Grand Hotel feelings about the construction is much different.
Patrick Morgan, President of Witham Family Motels, said “There might be some added time for people coming onto the island or leaving the island, but we don’t anticipate that being a great impact, especially this year.”
Traffic in the early portions of Route 3 into town is currently down to one lane, with a detour on the Crooked Road for outgoing traffic.
Carmen Fezetting from Maine DOT said it only adds a couple of minutes. She stated “The businesses shouldn’t be impacted what-so-ever considering the in-bound traffic should hit all of them and then if people happen to drive by something, they can easily loop right around.”
Regardless of what may be an eyesore now, it will soon pay off in the form of new gravel, paved shoulders and new sidewalks, to add to the visitor experience of Bar Harbor.
Something business owners can all get behind.
Morgan said “Once the project is completed, it’ll make it much more accessible to the park and people will be able to access the town much more easier. There will be different modes of transportation, all of which will be greatly improved.”
Stanley concluded “The energy is going to be great this summer, we’re all so excited and we’re just ready for spring to end and summer to get here.”
Construction is expected to continue until the spring of 2019.
DOT officials remind you to pay special attention to signs so you can reach your destination safely and quickly.