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Google Maps causes unrest on Colby Road

by Tara Giles
Sports reporter - Coos County Democrat and Berlin Reporter
October 13, 2021
WHITEFIELD — Residents on Colby Road in Whitefield have been inundated as of late with a major increase in traffic to include reckless drivers due to Google Maps. The map shows Colby Road as the fastest route to get to the Gorham area, so of course all users of Google GPS are taking the once back country road and turning it into a major thoroughfare.

Pondicherry, the airport and the industrial park are also located off the road, but until recently haven't caused a traffic issue.

Carroll and Marion Rexford attended the last Select Board meeting in Whitefield to voice their concerns with other residents of the road. The speed limit on the road is 30 mph, and includes a sign that says 'no thru trucks' however that sign doesn't specify what the 'truck' is.

Rexford said, "We are seeing tractor trailers, class A motor homes, trucks with toy haulers and it is continuous all day long. All the residents have the same concern with safety. It is a busy town road with cows and small children, and more residents, and someone who recently purchased a property is going to have horses."

Of concern is that there are no lines on the road and drivers are passing each other in an unsafe manner. Rexford inquired if the town has any jurisdiction with Google maps and if there is a way to improve signage on the road.

In one 15-minute time frame, 20 cars are on the road and residents say they see more cars in one day than they used to in one month.

"The tranquility of the road is gone and we're hoping the town can help," said Rexford.

Resident of Colby Road, Ken Lang mirrored Rexford's statement, and added that there are people who used to walk and run on that road who will not do so anymore due to the danger. Rexford did point out that it is not locals who are driving fast.

"It's people passing through all hours of the night; local truck traffic is very careful and goes slow," said Rexford.

Whitefield police will up patrol on the road, and Select Board member Peter Corey said the Board will investigate what can be done in regards to Google. Corey also stated he shares the residents' concerns.

Board member Shawn White said there is an ordinance that says no thru trucks which used to be heavily enforced. White also suggested a weight limit to keep the road intact. When asked about a yellow strip, White relayed that an eight-foot lane is required, which will be explored.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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