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Hidden Cost of Poland Spring’s Bottling Operation (letter)

I am writing to express our concern regarding more trucks and traffic generated by Poland Spring. We have read with interest the articles regarding the legal battle that Western Maine Residents for Rural Living is fighting against more Poland Springs activity.  

Almost all the publicity that we have seen is focused on Fryeburg and its immediate surrounding area. My husband and I live on Rte. 11, Steep Falls, Cumberland County.  When Poland Springs tanker trucks are using this route to the Hollis bottling plant, we have trucks passing at least every half hour, 24 hours a day. In the summer, when I assume water demand is greater, we have at least one truck pass by every 15 minutes, occasionally every 5 or 6 minutes, 24 hours a day.

Our little stretch of road is Main Street in the village of Steep Falls, with a speed limit of 25 mph. Most houses are over 100 years old and are no more than 15 to 20 feet from the narrow road bed. We have no sidewalks. If two trucks cross the bridge in opposite directions it gives them 12 feet of clearance on either side.

Often they will air brake to a stop, because two vehicles of that size cannot cross the bridge at the same time with that little clearance. Frequently there are crews out repairing the bridge that was built in 1936.

This has been an ongoing problem for us and our neighbors, as well as our neighbors on Rte. 113. I have had several meetings and phone conversations with Mark Dubois who makes many promises, but rarely delivers.

After three plus years of calling, and tracking the speed of the trucks with our own calibrated speed gun, we have finally gotten most of the Poland Springs trucks to travel at the speed limit, at least when they think someone may be watching. At night, the speed increases.

We are terrified that if Nestle wins this battle, we will have even more truck traffic rattling our houses, cracking our foundations and ceilings and causing a danger to any pedestrian on our street.

We wanted to say that the traffic problem is quite widespread beyond the Fryeburg area, and that other communities are unhappy with the truck traffic as it is now and, of course, the possibility of even more commercial truck traffic on our very narrow rural roads.

If we can be of any help in your battle against the Nestle Corporation increasing its hold on our small towns and lifestyles, please let us know.

Janet and Michael Blanck

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