During Portland's busiest days, the busy and confusing intersection of Congress Street, High Street and Free Street can be a dangerous game of driver or pedestrian error. But that's all about to change. According to the Portland Press Herald, the City of Portland plans to make that intersection safer in a variety of ways, while also adding some green space to spruce up the look of the area.

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Portland plans to eliminate the slip turn from High Street onto Free Street and build out an additional plaza in front of the Portland Museum of Art. Enhancements to the crosswalks and traffic lights should also help with safety for both motorists and pedestrians while keeping traffic from bottlenecking at the intersection. The entrance onto Free Street will be moved and the roadway raised in hopes of slowing motorists speed when entering the one-way street. The project is set to get underway in July, with phase one wrapping up in November.

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While the project should provide a safer environment for pedestrians, some lingering questions do remain about how this will impact Free Street traffic when large-scale events resume at the Cross Insurance Arena. During major events like concerts, Free Street is a major artery for parking, with patrons often circling the arena and using the slip turn to avoid the Congress St/High St intersection. That convenience will be missed.

The project is likely to include some detours and/or road closures which could cause headaches for those traveling through the area during the summer.

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