Bath reconstruction of North Street to begin this year

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BATH — North Street may be getting a face-lift, starting this summer.

The city plans to redesign and rebuild a portion of the street in a two-phase project. A public meeting on the plan will be held in the City Hall auditorium Wednesday, Jan. 28, at 5:30 p.m.

The work is geared toward improving the road surface, providing continuous and safe areas for pedestrians, and enhancing the quality of life and appearance along the street, according to a city announcement.

The first phase, scheduled this summer, would rebuild North Street from the “Five Corners” intersection of Lincoln Street and Oak Grove and Congress avenues, to High Street. Next year’s second phase would run from High Street to Washington Street.

Landscaping will be added, the street will be narrowed, lighting will be enhanced, and a continuous sidewalk will stretch the length of the reconstructed area.

North Street was built when it was considered a primary gateway to the city, in the days before U.S. Route 1 assumed that role, Public Works Director Peter Owen said Tuesday. The road no longer needs its 48-foot width, and will be rebuilt at about 34 feet wide, which should help mitigate complaints about speeding and reduce the amount of road surface the city must maintain.

After the city receives public input next week, it will finalize the design and have a firmer project cost, Owen said. The budget for the first phase is roughly $1 million, half of which would come from a Maine Department of Transportation municipal partnership initiative grant, with the rest coming from city street bonds.

“North Street, similar to the work we (recently) did on High Street, has been on our list of primary roads to get repaired,” Owen said, noting that while the project was originally planned for next year, the city’s success in obtaining the MDOT grant expedited the process.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.