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Commissioners Hear Concerns about East-West Highway Proposal
04/03/2013 01:06 PM ET  

Penobscot County Commissioners last night heard residents' concerns about a proposal to build a privately-owned highway from east to west across Maine.

The proposed east-west highway across Maine was the subject yesterday before the Penobscot County Commissioners. The commissioners heard first hand the worries of people like Jim Thomas, a Garland dairy farmer.

"The proposed east-west highway route goes through Garland. If so, it would probably take 30 acres of our field and severely restrict access to 70 more acres," Thomas said. "The corridor would take 100 additional acres of our woodland, which would further diminish our sustainability."

Thomas's concerns were addressed directly by Peter Vigue. Vigue, the chief executive of Pittsfield-based construction company Cianbro, is a chief backer of constructing the privately-owned highway.

"We have no right - we're not going to take your property. I assure of that. I'll promise you that," Vigue said. "And we have no right of eminent domain at all - at all."

"Thank you very much," Thomas responded.

Despite Vigue's assurances, anxiety about the route of the proposed highway, and the possibility of land takings, has many people in the region worried. It also prompted Gov. LePage to slow work on a financial feasability study that the last Legislature agreed to pay for.

This story was reported by Jay Field and written by Irwin Gratz.


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