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Fatal accidents far too common on Route 1A

The 26-mile road, stretching from Brewer to Ellsworth, has seen 19 fatal accidents since 2003, with 3 of those since April.

MAINE, USA — Locals and tourists flock to Bar Harbor and Downeast Maine during the summer months. The most common way to get there is down Route 1A. 

The highly traveled road stretches from Brewer to Ellsworth -- but as scenic as many of the sites may be, the road has proven to be deadly.

On Thursday, July 25, another life was claimed on the road. 

RELATED: 57-year-old man killed in two-car crash on Route 1A in Ellsworth

That comes in addition to two other fatal accidents, that both happened on the same road in Ellsworth this year. 

RELATED: Driver killed in Route 1A crash identified as new details come to light

In order to reach Bar Harbor from Bangor, Route 1A is the most direct way to get there. The Maine Department of Transportation says the road sees an average of 12,000 cars a day per year. Ellsworth and Holden police officers say, however, that during the summer, there are more than 40,000 cars on the road each day. 

"1-A has always been an area of concern for us," said Ellsworth Police Chief Glenn Moshier. 

Since responding to three accidents in the same number of months, Moshier and his department have taken on extra patrols on Route 1A.

"Certainly a presence by law enforcement can help to keep people alert and driving more carefully and slowly out there," said Moshier. 

The recent fatal accidents just add to an already startling number of deadly accidents in Ellsworth on Route 1A. According to data provided by the Maine DOT, there have been 10 fatal crashes on Route 1A in Ellsworth since 2003. 

RELATED: Heading Downeast this July 4? Expect holiday traffic

In that same period of time, there have been 4 fatal accidents in Dedham and 5 fatal accidents in Holden, all taking place on Route 1A. 

"The majority of crashes in Holden happen on 1-A," said Lt. Eduardo Benjamin of the Holden Police Department. 

Despite seeing so many accidents, however, the Maine DOT has not placed any location on the 26-mile-long Route 1A as a "high crash location."

Criteria to make a high crash location requires there be at least eight accidents in an area over three years. 

"Certainly, we are aware that this road is heavily traveled this time of year, and there are lots of crashes on there. Whether the data hits the point where we think it's appropriate to do something is another question," said Maine DOT spokesperson Paul Merrill. 

Despite not having a high crash location jurisdiction along Route 1A, officers from various departments, including Maine State Police, the Hancock County Sheriff's Office, and local police departments will patrol the area with extra caution. 

"We hope that everybody gets where they going to -- safe," said Lt. Benjamin. 

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