Cumberland council OKs work on 3 road projects

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CUMBERLAND — The Town Council on Monday approved bids from contractors for three road projects to be almost entirely completed this year.

The panel tapped Storey Brothers of Cumberland for the town’s Middle Road reconstruction and waterline expansion project; A.H. Grover of North Yarmouth for sidewalk, drainage and water main improvements on Tuttle Road, and Shaw Brothers of Gorham for installation of turning lanes on U.S. Route 1.

Each contractor submitted the lowest qualified bids for each job. The council voted on each one individually; Grover and Shaw received unanimous approvals, and Councilor Shirley-Storey King, who is related to Storey Brothers’ operators, abstained from that vote.

The Middle Road project, for which Storey Brothers bid $3.1 million, will run from Tuttle Road to the Falmouth town line, approximately 8,200 feet parallel to U.S. Route 1 and Interstate 295. Pavement will be removed in some sections and gravel will be added. In other sections of the road, all material will be removed down to the sub-grade.

The entire road will have 5-foot paved shoulders – compared to the intermittent  gravel shoulders now in place – and 11-foot travel lanes, for an entire width of 32 feet. The travel lane widths will be about the same.

Also installed could be 4,200 feet of water line – extending the Middle Road line coming south off Tuttle Road – as well as natural gas piping for the full extent of the stretch, to be funded by Summit Natural Gas.

The Cumberland Council last February unanimously approved borrowing up to $3.2 million for the project, a cost that included Sevee & Mahar’s $127,000 contract, as well as inspection, change orders and contingency.

Also included is about $127,000 in improvements to the existing water main, to be funded by the Portland Water District, as well as nearly $337,000 in potential natural gas piping, for which Summit Natural Gas would pay.

Although the town has planned to extend its Middle Road water line by 4,200 feet, reaching within 100 feet of the Falmouth border, some Cumberland councilors on Jan. 23 balked over completing the project if Falmouth is not planning the same effort.

The Falmouth Town Council last summer decided not to add the estimated $750,000 needed to extend water down Middle Road to its own road reconstruction project, which will run from Johnson Road to the Cumberland line.

But Falmouth councilors agreed at a recent meeting that perhaps they should re-consider, particularly in light of strong interest by residents in extending public water access.

The council in Falmouth was expected to get the additional information at its meeting Monday, which was postponed to Wednesday due to inclement weather.

Cumberland Town Manager Bill Shane said in an interview Monday that the Water District plans to fund additional water line footage, reaching roughly 50 feet before the Falmouth line.

The project will primarily take place between May and October, with final paving in spring 2018.

Tuttle Road, Route 1

A.H. Grover’s bid of approximately $848,000 is to be offset by nearly $189,000 in funds from the Portland Water District for water main upgrades. The Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System, or PACTS, will also reimburse the town $250,000, since Tuttle Road is a state road.

The remaining $410,000 will come from Cumberland’s road reconstruction funds, Shane said.

Sidewalk improvements and road reconstruction will run from the area of Town Hall, 290 Tuttle Road, to about 800 feet east of the railroad tracks that run past Crossing Brook Road, Shane said. Water main upgrades will take place between Fieldstone Drive and Middle Road.

The project should run from May through October.

The third project, awarded to Shaw Brothers, is a center turning lane to be built on much of U.S. Route 1 this summer – from the Falmouth line to the area of Pack Edge, and then from around the Tuttle Road ramp to Yarmouth.

The corridor is 43 feet wide, with travel lanes and shoulders of approximately 12 feet and 8-11 feet, respectively, according to Gorrill-Palmer Engineers. The new configuration would create an 11-foot-wide center lane, and shrink the two travel lanes to 11 feet each. The shoulder widths would each be reduced to 5 feet.

“A center turn lane … allows you to get into a separate lane, out of the through traffic, so that you don’t have as much worry about being rear-ended,” Tom Gorrill of Gorrill-Palmer Engineers said in 2015.

The $1 million project, likely to run from April through July, includes reclaiming and paving the ramp from U.S. Route 1 up to Tuttle Road. Half the expense will be paid through municipal partnership initiative funds from the Maine Department of Transportation; the rest will come from town road reconstruction and tax increment financing money, Shane said.

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.