Falmouth prepares for Hat Trick Drive improvements

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FALMOUTH — The town has hired Scott Dugas Trucking & Excavating to begin long-anticipated construction work on Hat Trick Drive.

Town Manager Nathan Poore said three bids came in, ranging from $468,000 to $545,000, and Dugas’ was “the low bid and the preferred bid.” The other bids came from Chase Excavating and J Pratt Construction.

“The total project cost will be $525,000,” Poore said, adding there was a bid alternate for an additional sidewalk, which he said they were hoping to fit within the budget. “We’re generally pleased with the bid results.”

Dugas will begin work within the next few weeks, and Poore said the work will likely be completed by late summer or early fall, and may coincide with the anticipated completion of a much-debated Rivalries restaurant at the corner of Clearwater Drive and Farm Gate Road.

Poore said the work will begin near the entrance of Family Ice Center and continue south behind Wal-Mart to Clearwater Drive. The new Hat Trick Drive will look like a town street, as opposed to something that now looks like “an alley,” Poore said.

He said the street will “have the look and feel of a public road” and it will “in perpetuity be a public right of way.” It technically isn’t a public road, Poore said, because the there are “multiple public and private ownerships involved.”

In addition to the town, Wal-Mart and the property owners of the Falmouth Plaza have ownership rights. Poore said each party is contributing $175,000 to the project.

“It will have the appearance of a well-constructed street with sidewalks and parking. It will be a really nice connection and alternate to driving on Route 1 as well,” Poore said.

The bid alternate for an additional sidewalk on Clearwater will be near the lawn-care department of Wal-Mart, heading east toward Route 1. Poore said the only remaining stretch in need of a sidewalk is adjacent to Bernie’s restaurant. It will be put out to bid at a later date, but not necessarily this summer.

Other projects include storm-water improvements, added parking, and improvements for pedestrians, such as pedestrian-scaled lighting and a new crosswalk to Family Ice Center from the street parking area.

“Between the road and the back of Wal-Mart there will be a grass esplanade. On the Family Ice side there will be perpendicular parking, and then there will be a sidewalk as well as additional parking,” Poore said.

Project planning dates back to the early 2000s, Poore said, when the town approached Wal-Mart, Family Ice and the Falmouth Plaza’s owners to discuss creating a road. He said it was good to see the project finally happening since so many people had worked on it over the years.

He said it “will definitely be a benefit to the area.”

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.