Bath's initial work on North Street to conclude in fall

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BATH — The first phase of the two-year reconstruction of North Street is expected to wrap up in mid-October.

The project is intended to improve the road surface, provide continuous and safe areas for pedestrians, and improve the quality of life and appearance along the street, the city announced earlier this year.

The current phase includes rebuilding 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.

H.C. Crooker, the project’s contractor, is in the process of replacing the street waterline. The work, causing closures of sections of the street to general traffic during the day, started June 22 and should wrap up this month.

Along with the waterline replacement, the project includes new sewer pipes to replace those found to be failing, a new sidewalk along the north side of the street, a new walking trail on the south side, as well as a new sidewalk along adjacent Fitts Street, according to Public Works Director Peter Owen.

Built when it was considered a primary gateway to the city, in the days before U.S. Route 1 assumed that role, North Street no longer needs its 48-foot width, Owen said. It is being rebuilt at a width of about 34 feet, helping to reduce the amount of road surface the city must maintain while mitigating complaints about speeding, he said.

North Street is being narrowed between High and Lincoln streets, and other improvements include new street lights and trees, better crosswalks at intersections like North and High streets, and new pavement between High and Lincoln streets, Owen said.

It is too early to know if the contracted project cost of the first phase, $1.175 million, will change, he said. Of that expense, $500,000 is coming from a Maine Department of Transportation municipal partnership initiative grant, with the rest paid through city street bonds.

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

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.