Workers installed a new rubberized crosswalk surface at the intersection of routes 1 and 52 Thursday, Nov. 10, ending a drawn-out series of pedestrian improvements at one of the city’s most hazardous intersections.

The Route 52 (Lincolnville Avenue) crossing has been officially eyed for work since 2006, when a Maine Department of Transportation safety audit found it, along with the crossing at the intersection of Route 141 (Swan Lake Avenue) and Route 1, to be especially problematic.

A later study by the Gateway One planning advisory group to MDOT found the same two intersections to be among the most dangerous Route 1 crossings between Brunswick and Prospect.

Early ideas for the Route 52 intersection included elevating Route 1 or putting a tunnel beneath the roadway. These were ruled out as too costly, as were many of the 2006 audit recommendations for the “T” intersection at Route 141, which included building a roundabout, or relocating the intersection east to distance it from Veterans’ Memorial Bridge.

The improvements to the crossing at Route 52 that were finished this week are similar to what was recommended in the 2006 audit.  The west end was moved slightly to shorten the span, countdown crossing signals were added along with a flashing sign to let night drivers know when a person was crossing.

The money came from a Maine Safe Routes to School grant won by a citizen group in 2006 — the crossing is used by students of Troy Howard Middle School. The project, however, was delayed for nearly three years, with the majority of the improvements done in 2009.

At that time, the crosswalk at Route 52, which was to be made of a reflective rubber-like material called DuraTherm, was put on hold after it was determined that the pavement on that section of Route 1 would need to be replaced inside the lifetime of the crosswalk.

“We had it pretty well designed after a couple of meetings,” said City Councilor Roger Lee, who was involved with early conversations around improving the Route 52 Crossing. “The frustration I’ve had is it’s taken at least four years to go from having it figured out to having it built.”

The Route 141 intersection got a boost in 2008 when the city won a $100,000 traffic-calming grant. The crosswalk over Route 1 was moved to the east side of the intersection the following year, and a new sidewalk and crosswalk were added on Route 141 to connect the old sidewalk to the new crossing.

Crossing signals, flashing signs and a DuraTherm crosswalk were added.

The same material was used this week at the Route 52 intersection where workers from Hagar Enterprises and Lane Construction were finishing the last of the cobblestone-patterned crosswalk on Nov. 10.

DuraTherm, which is intended to last longer than paint, requires workers to heat the pavement and batter a template of the crosswalk pattern into it. Precut sections of the thermoplastic material are then laid into the recesses and heated so that they fuse and become flush with the pavement.

Literature on DuraTherm claims it will last as long as the pavement in which it is embedded. An engineer at the work site Thursday said it would likely last several years, as opposed to paint, which typically must be repainted annually.

Lee said the material was chosen partly because it was believed that it would be more visible than paint.

“That was the theory,” he said. “That it would be more visible and that it would certainly be lasting.”

As of Thursday, he said he had yet to see the new installation, but said he was glad that it was done.

“I think the bottom line is we’ve probably got the best we can get, finally, and we should be pleased we have it,” he said. “But it has exposed how slow things are at DOT.”