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Route 1A Construction Picking Up Speed 

A major reconstruction project on a 7 mile stretch of Route 1A from Dedham to Ellsworth is well underway and will cause some delays this summer. Crews are working as fast as they can to finish most of the work by fall.When all is said and done the pricetag will be more than $20 million. Officials from the Maine DOT say the construction that’s been underway along the stretch along route 1A from and it’s getting close to being finished. “I believe it will be substantially complete in November and we’re looking to put a a finish coat of pavement on next spring,” says DOT Commissioner David Cole.Workers will be moving to a 24-hour a day work schedule to speed things up. The project will upgrade the road with 12 foot travel lanes and 8 foot shoulders. Route 1a will be closed completely during some small stretches this summer. “Route 1A will be shut down for 2 full weekends and we will utilize red bridge road as a detour,” says Cole.DOT officials say they’re not sure when that closure will happen. With construction on this major corridor continuing through the summer some folks here are questioning whether the tourist industry will take a hit. Micki Sumpter, Executive Director of the Ellsworth Chamber of Commerce is optimistic the tourism industry will be fine. “Our numbers are up from tourism and we’re very pleased,” she says, “it seems like this year it’s turning around and it’s going to be a positive so we’re not even thinking that it’s going to take a hit.” Folks at the local businesses say they’re not overly concerned either. Cindy White is the general manager at the Colonial Inn in Ellsworth. “You hear a lot from a lot of the tourists coming through,” she says, “they’ve all complained about being stuck in traffic coming in but they don’t know about it until they get here so it’s not changing their vacation plans.”Ehite says the impact is being felt more so by the locals around here. Terry Pinkham owns a house right in the middle of it all but he says it doesn’t bother him too much. “I’m enjoying watching all the activity and when it’s all said and done here this is going to be a well deserved, much needed improvement to the 1a corridor,” Pinkham says.When it’s all said and done do the folks here think it will all be worth it? “Yeah,” says White, “it’s needed it for a long time, all that extra work, so yeah.”For progress reports on the construction you can go to the website www.mainedot.gov. You can also sign up for e-mail alerts.