Kittery’s bid to reduce summer speed limits stalls

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KITTERY, Maine — The town’s pursuit of lower speed limits to slow down summertime drivers cutting through Kittery neighborhoods has hit a roadblock.

The Maine Department of Transportation didn’t respond in the way Kittery officials had hoped after residents and certain Town Council members sought methods to stop drivers from exiting the Maine Turnpike to avoid tourism season gridlock on Interstate 95.

“I’ve hit a little bit of a dead end here,” Town Manager Kendra Amaral told the Town Council Monday night, describing her talks with the Maine DOT.

Amaral said the DOT’s Randy Illian told her most speed changes require a speed study to be conducted, and Kittery likely would not be successful in lowering the speed limits based on the department’s manual of how it determines speed and applicable engineering principles. Amaral said Illian stated if studies were conducted, some posted speeds on Kittery roads may actually increase — the opposite of the town’s intentions.