After over a decade of planning, work has begun on a long-overdue solution to a traffic nightmare in Westbrook.

The Maine DOT has begun installing traffic lights at every intersection in what is called the Cumberland Mills Triangle. For years it has been a little like a rotary and as more and more drivers commute into Portland from their homes in the much less expensive suburbs, the amount of traffic at the triangle has continued to increase.

The triangle is where Main Street, Cumberland Street, Warren Avenue and Hanois Avenue all meet in a dance around buildings in the middle that include a Walgreens and sports pub and tattoo shop. Believe it or not, back in the 60s, there was a Kentucky Fried Chicken at the Triangle where that tattoo shop is today.

Traffic heading out of and into Portland gets backed up here regularly, especially at the intersection of Warren and Cumberland. According to the Portland Press Herald, it also has the ninth-highest crash rate in the state and third-highest in Cumberland County. One woman was killed crossing Main Street when she was struck by a van in 2004.

Traffic lights are in the process of being installed now. Poles are in place and about of them have lights attached to them. The lights will all be coordinated, to keep traffic flowing as smoothly as possible. They will also force drivers to slow down as they make their way through the triangle and be more aware of their surroundings...we hope.

Here's a map showing where the traffic lights are placed as of this writing.

Google Maps
Google Maps

And here's a dashcam video I took driving through the triangle showing the work that has been done so far.

I'm sure someone is asking the question, "How is this all being paid for?" Well, it's a $1.8 million project and most of it will be paid by the federal government, with some from the state and the City of Westbrook.

We're not sure when the installation will be complete and the lights operational, but as the Maine DOT usually does with major traffic pattern changes, they'll probably have electronic message boards warning drivers of the new lights as they approach the triangle.

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