Blanchard Road paving project underway in Cumberland

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CUMBERLAND — The reconstruction of about 6,100 feet of Blanchard Road began Monday and could be 90 percent complete by late August, according to Town Manager Bill Shane.

The Maine Department of Transportation is funding half of the $1 million project, while Cumberland is paying for the rest in its fiscal 2013 and 2014 budgets. Shane said the town portion comes from tax increment financing funds.

The project, for which A.H. Grover of North Yarmouth is the contractor, runs from Bruce Hill Road to Skillin Road. The work is the final component of a plan to pave road shoulders and extend water mains from Route 1 to Route 100.

Water main installation on Blanchard Road has already been completed, and road and shoulder paving – 5-foot shoulders on each side of the road – comes next. Work on the road from Bruce Hill Road, near the Cumberland Fairgrounds, to Main Street was completed a decade ago.

A section of a hill near a fairgrounds gate entrance is being shaved down to create better sight distances, Shane said.

About 1,000 feet of natural gas piping will be installed while the road is being rebuilt, with other parts of the line to be connected later, Shane said. Summit Natural Gas is extending service into Cumberland, Falmouth and Yarmouth.

The base coat of paving should be complete by late August, with a finished coat to come next spring.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or [email protected]. 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.