Detour de Portland: You almost can't get there from here

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PORTLAND — Crews working on four peninsula street construction projects hope to take advantage of better weather.

“By the end of the week, we will be back on schedule,” Glidden Excavating & Paving supervisor Ted Coffin said Monday as workers removed the surface of westbound Commercial Street.

Meanwhile, city spokeswoman Jessica Grondin on May 6 said the sewer project that has closed State Street from Cumberland to Congress streets is expected to be completed by May 20.

On Monday, crews continued to resurface Spring Street from High to Center streets, and new striping had been painted on the road. The surface of Middle Street from Center to Franklin streets had also been removed for repaving.

And On York Street, southbound traffic has been detoured between Maple and High streets while the Portland Water District replaces about 400 feet of water mains.

The impact of all this work can be seen in congested detours.

On May 5 at 10:30 a.m., southbound traffic on Mellen Street, from Park Avenue to Congress Street, diverted from State Street, was at a near standstill.

On Monday, the same was true on Forest Avenue from Park Avenue to Congress Street around 3:15 p.m. The tie-ups were heightened at Congress Street, as drivers edged into the intersection to make right turns.

As he made a delivery to the Holiday Inn by the Bay on Spring Street, truck driver Jim Sherman described traffic in unprintable terms, but complimented work crews.

“Most of them will let me get turned around, they might even stop traffic,” he said.

That helps on days when he has 20 deliveries or more, but Sherman said navigating around State and Commercial Street work is tough.

Coffin acknowledged the work is an inconvenience, although it is being done in phases to minimize impact. Workers lost three days of paving due to rainy weather last week, and Coffin said he tries to alert business owners along Commercial Street about what is coming.

“This was as early as we could get out here,” he said of work expected to be wrapped up early next month.

Jason Martin, who works at the Craft Beer Cellar on Franklin Street, said he appreciated the level of communication.

“It is huge for them to be saying something to the store owners,” he said.

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

Glidden Excavating & Paving supervisor Ted Coffin said resurfacing of Commercial Street in Portland will be back on schedule this week.

Late morning traffic on Mellen Street in Portland, diverted from State Street sewer work, approaches Congress Street on May 5.

Crews dig up and replace old pipes May 5 at the intersection of State and Deering streets in Portland. The work is expected to be finished May 20. State Street has been closed between Cumberland Avenue and Congress Street.

Milling on Commercial Street in Portland on May 9 is part of a phased resurfacing project on both sides of the street. The project is expected to be finished in early June.

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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.