BELFAST — The City Council hosted a public listening session to hear from residents and to discuss the proposed project on Wight Street at the Waldo County Shrine Club on June 27.

The project on Wight Street, as described by Mandy Olver with Olver and Associates Inc. of Winterport, will include: converting the open ditch drainage system to a closed pipe and catch basin drainage system, reconstructing the roadway base by removing existing soils and installing a new gravel based roadway, providing concrete curbs along both sides of the roadway, repaving the roadway with a new bituminous surface, providing for pedestrian and other non-vehicle accommodations, and providing traffic calming to slow the current speed of vehicles in the area.

The project will also include extending the sanitary sewer to serve homes beyond the current collection system on Congress Street, according to a handout provided during the meeting.

Specifically, Olver mentioned issues with pedestrian safety on the road, noting that in previous discussions there has been talk of people walking in the roads. In response to that, the plan includes the possibility of building a meandering sidewalk, which would wind among the poles already in existence on the side of the road.

City Manager Erin Herbig said the point of hosting the meeting was to hear from the public regarding the road itself, as well as the idea for sidewalks and what that would mean for pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

One of the primary issues discussed by the several dozen Belfast residents who attended the meeting was the speed of vehicles traveling down Wight Street, especially during early morning hours. As such, several residents voiced support for the idea of making Wight Street a one-way street. Others voiced support for speed bumps and other speed-control methods.

Olver said traffic calming can be accomplished with speed tables, which are similar to speed bumps but are more gradual than traditional speed bumps. She also suggested signage, including a possible intermediate stop sign and digital signs that would alert drivers to their speed as they proceed down Wight Street.

With respect to the idea of making Wight Street a one-way street, Belfast Councilor Neal Harkness said the council had not really discussed the idea but that he was open to the idea with some reservations. Harkness said the idea made a lot of sense, but he said he is a driver for Waldo County Public Transportation and noted he drives down the street both ways as a part of his job. He said he was concerned about telling residents that they can’t come to the hospital through Wight Street. He said he would also like to hear from the police department on whether or not making the street a one-way street makes sense based upon traffic statistics.

Several residents, including both pedestrians and bicycle enthusiasts, said they liked the idea of the meandering path, adding that it would enhance the overall aesthetic quality of the street. Several residents who like to ride their bicycles suggested a wider path that could be used for both pedestrian and bicycle traffic, or for other uses, such as those residents requiring the use of wheelchairs.

One of the primary issues residents brought up was a spring or stream that forms across Wight Street, especially during storms. Residents said they would like to see something in the plans that would address this issue, possibly diverting the water, which several residents said can cause problems, especially in the winter, when the water freezes on the roadway.

The plan presented at the meeting also discussed that widening the could necessitate the loss of trees. Wight Street is heavily wooded in parts and those residents in attendance seemed to agree that keeping as many trees as possible along the road would be the most desirable outcome. The council in previous discussions has also mentioned that the impact on trees on Wight Street should be minimized, according to the proposed plan.

Olver said that once the final plan is implemented, most of the work will be done in 2023, with completion expected in 2024.