Changes Finally Coming to Ease Traffic at Acadia National Park
There are always so many cars in the peak of the season. Look at those license plates. Massachusetts. New York. New Hampshire. And of course Maine. Acadia is so amazing and we are so lucky to have it.
The plan to make visiting Acadia more efficient, if you haven’t heard, is a new state-of-the-art welcome center and transit hub. The reason for the new center is to get more visitors to use the park’s fare-free shuttle, therefore, reducing traffic congestion.
Recently the Maine Department of Transportation set the wheels in motion by officially opening up the bidding process for the construction of the building.
Paul Merrill, director of communications for the MaineDOT, said
The department expects groundbreaking for the Acadia Gateway Welcome Center and intermodal facility to happen in the first half of 2023. The MaineDOT would own the project, which would be funded mostly by federal transit aid, in addition to $4 million from the National Park Service, state money and $1 million from the Friends of Acadia, a partner in planning since 2004.
Can reality be that close? After all, this project has been talked about for over 20 years.
The facility will be on Route 3 in Trenton about three miles north of the bridge to Mount Desert Island and be phase two of the Acadia Gateway Center, located on 152 acres on the west side of Route 3.
The first phase was completed in 2012 and includes an existing bus maintenance facility, 110 spaces of year-round commuter parking and a 3,500-foot long access road called Gateway Center Drive off Route 3, and offices for Downeast Transportation, the nonprofit that operates the Island Explorer and regional buses in Hancock County.
This is the first phase
The project is part of a transportation strategy by the state and federal governments to reduce dependency on cars and curb traffic tie-ups during the tourist season on Route 3, Mount Desert Island, and Acadia National Park.
In 2021, the park attracted a record 4 million visits and is on pace for a similar number this year.