Congress Street traffic in Portland to be detoured for hospital construction starting May 7

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PORTLAND — The long, uphill block of Congress Street from Forest to Weymouth streets will be closed to traffic beginning Monday, May 7.

The closure will allow contractors to install three new floors to the visitor garage at Maine Medical Center and is expected to last until June 29, MMC spokesman Matt Wickenheiser said in a press release.

Closing the section of Congress Street is needed to allow a crane the room to maneuver prefabricated concrete sections into place, Wickenheiser said. The garage addition of 225 spaces is part of a $512 million MMC expansion slated to take place over the next five years.

While Congress Street is closed, it is recommended that inbound traffic follow a  detour along St. John Street, Park Avenue and then Weymouth Street. Outbound traffic will be detoured at Weymouth Street.

“We developed the route carefully, in full collaboration with the city and other key stakeholders, and we are committed to re-opening Congress Street as scheduled, Jeff Sanders, MMC executive vice president and chief operating officer, said in the announcement.

Wickenheiser said traffic will be monitored and routes may be adjusted as needed. Signs are already posted on Interstate 295 about the closure.

Area businesses will remain open, and hospital visitors will be able to access the garage using the entrance at the employee garage on Gilman Street. The upper levels of the visitor garage will be closed during construction.

Emergency patients or those scheduled for surgery should follow posted signs, and valet parking will be available at no charge, Wickenheiser said. The garage expansion is expected to be finished this year.

Detour and construction details can be found at https://bit.ly/2cLDNpc.

Metro and Breez buses will also follow the detour route, and will not stop on Congress Street between St. John and Weymouth streets. Riders should use stops on Park Avenue instead, Wickenheiser said. Affected Metro local routes are the 1, 9A and 9B.

The garage construction is accompanied by the expansion of MMC’s East Tower, where two floors and the hospital helipad will be added. Due to that construction, Wescott Street between Ellsworth and Crescent streets will be closed throughout construction expected to last through late 2019.

In a second construction phase, MMC will build an employee garage on St. John Street, adjacent to Union Station Plaza. The hospital will ultimately add 19 procedure rooms and 128 private patient rooms.

David Harry can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 110 or dharry@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.

As Congress Street closes Monday, May 7 for work at Maine Medical Center, the hospital has outlined these detour routes for the public.

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Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.