Falmouth Route 100 project likely to require $6.5M bond

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FALMOUTH — While no action was taken, the Town Council on Monday night heard preliminary recommendations for the redevelopment of Route 100 in West Falmouth.

The Council also unanimously voted to replace the Mill Creek pump station on Route 88.

Redeveloping Route 100 is expected to cost roughly $11 million in construction costs, according to Theo Holtwijk, the town’s director of long range planning. The scope of the project will be from the Portland border to Winslow Farm.

Initially, the work was going to reach Hurricane Road, but this part was eliminated to save money.

Originally estimated at $10 million, the cost to redo the entire section of road rose to $15.4 million, in large part because of reconstruction costs associated with the portion from Winslow Farm to Hurricane Road.

The latest iteration of the project will be financed by $4 million from the Maine Department of Transportation, because Route 100 is a state-owned road. Holtwijk said $6.5 million will be financed by a bond, which will likely go to voters this June, and by extending the life of the West Falmouth Crossing Tax Increment Financing District another five years, to 2030. The remainder will be paid for with a portion of current and projected fund balances in the TIF.

Holtwijk said the scope of the work includes safety improvements at intersections, adding bicycle lanes from the Portland border to the Libby bridge, adding continuous sidewalks along portions of the road, improving street and pedestrian lighting, and other projects.

MDOT has reviewed and approved the preliminary plans. Once the project is completed, Holtwijk said the town plans to continue conversations with MDOT about redeveloping the portion of road starting at Winslow Farm.

Holtwijk said the next step will be for the Town Council to hear public comment at its Feb. 8 meeting. The council could also vote to accept the plan at the meeting.

Pump station

Replacing the town’s largest wastewater pumping station is expected to cost nearly $6 million.

The Mill Creek station, which was built around 1969 and serves all of Cumberland and most of Falmouth, has been deemed insufficient to meet the needs of both towns.

Chris Dwinal, an engineer for the project, told the council the Mill Creek station had “certainly served its purpose.”

Pete Clark, the town’s wastewater superintendent, last week said the station pumps a little over half a million gallons on a normal, dry day. During wet weather, he said roughly 2 1/2 million gallons a day is pumped. The upgrades will allow for up to 4 million gallons a day.

Topsham-based Wright-Pierce engineers has estimated construction costs for the pump station would be $3.5 million. Replacing the force main, which moves wastewater under pressure with pumps or compressors, would cost an additional $1.4 million. Additional engineering and other costs brought the total estimate up to about $5.88 million.

Dwinal said Wright-Pierce has so far received construction bids for the pump station alone, and is recommending a low bid of roughly $2.8 million from Apex Construction. Dwinal said construction on the station is expected to last 17 months, although he said Apex is projecting it would take less time.

Bidding for the force main will likely occur in March. Clark last week said two separate contractors will likely be hired for the project. Dwinal said construction hours would be Monday through Friday in daylight hours, unless there was a need for night work.

The project will be financed through a revenue bond, as well as $1 million from a wastewater enterprise fund. Cumberland will contribute towards the bond payments.

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.