Commercial Street work could start next month in Bath

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BATH — Improvements to Commercial Street could begin by mid or late July, after the City Council and Maine Department of Transportation have approved a contractor to conduct the work, City Planner Jim Upham said Wednesday.

He said three contractor bids were opened Wednesday morning, and Harry C. Crooker & Sons had the apparent low bid. The company bid about $608,000 for the base piece of the project, which includes work from the train station to about 400 feet east along Commercial Street, to where the street turns about 90 degrees and heads north.

Crookers’ first additive alternate bid, for the parking lot to the southeast of that turn and near the city’s sewage pump station, was for about $118,000. Its second alternate bid, for the lot to the east of the street and under the Sagadahoc Bridge is about $76,000. Its third, for the “west” lot and under the bridge, is about $90,000.

Planning staff will recommend the scope of the project – for example, how many, if any, alternatives it should include – and the City Council will make the final decision.

Upham said his department could make a recommendation by Friday, June 26, in time for consideration by the council on Wednesday, July 1.

Steve Johnson of Oak Engineers, the city’s engineer on this project, was to review the bid documents to ensure they were complete, Upham said, and then e-mail Upham with a tentative recommendation. Upham will then discuss the matter with City Manager Bill Giroux and Public Works Director Peter Owen, “and then we’ll make a decision whether to go with the base or any of the alternates,” Upham said.

Pratt & Sons submitted a base bid of about $646,000, and first, second and third alternate bids of about $124,000, $75,000 and $93,000, respectively. Peters Construction submitted a base bid of nearly $736,000, and first, second and third alternate bids of nearly $100,000, about $72,000 and about $106,000, respectively.

The south lot will include longer parking spaces for vehicles such as motor homes, as well as for smaller vehicles. The east lot will have about 18 spaces, and the west about 25.

The state will fund 80 percent of the project with federal money. The city’s 20 percent comes from Bath Iron Works tax increment financing district revenues.

One planned improvement to Commercial Street will be making its east-to-north curve closer to 90 degrees, which will slow traffic and create more room for parking beneath the bridge. Other improvements will produce more of a distinction between the street and parking for the train station, as well as paving stones between the street and train tracks for pedestrian use. A parking area nearest the station will supply spaces for short-term and handicapped parking.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or

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.