- Associated Press - Saturday, March 29, 2014

AUGUSTA, Maine (AP) - Many cities and towns are criticizing a state proposal to remove or change about a third of Maine’s roadway signs that direct drivers to municipalities and attractions.

The Maine Department of Transportation and the Maine Turnpike Authority have proposed the plan to conform to federal highway sign standards.

The proposal would alter 30 percent of supplemental guide signs on Interstate 95, Interstate 295 and Interstate 395, the Morning Sentinel reports (http://bit.ly/1po9rFa ). Forty-two of the total 68 affected guide signs - which are typically brown with white letters - would be removed. The rest would be moved along the roadside closer to the areas they are advertising.

The Legislature’s Transportation Committee will hold a public hearing on the proposal on Tuesday.

Communities like Hallowell, which are off main highways, worry that losing the signs could hurt business.

“Hallowell is a wonderful, popular destination, but is hard to get to through the web of interchanges and signs,” City Councilor Alan Stearns said.

Maine banned billboards in 1977, but lawmakers often submit requests for highway signs promoting their regions. Many of the signs don’t match federal standards, however. For example, Hallowell doesn’t have a big enough population to warrant a sign under federal standards, and the China Lakes region isn’t considered a large enough recreational area for a sign, the newspaper reported.

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Information from: Morning Sentinel, http://www.onlinesentinel.com/