Falmouth to rebuild northern section of Middle Road

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FALMOUTH — Reconstruction of a large section of Middle Road is planned for this summer, residents were told Tuesday night.

The project is in addition to road, bridge, sidewalk, overpass and intersection improvements the Maine Department of Transportation has scheduled over the next three years in Falmouth. Work at Town Landing is also on the roster.

Jay Reynolds, Falmouth’s public works director, said the Middle Road project, which will cost approximately $800,000, would be done on 3,300 feet of roadway between Johnson Road and the Cumberland town line.

Plans also include widening the road to add 4-foot bicycle lanes, Reynolds said.

In addition, residents along that section of Middle Road will have the opportunity to get new mailboxes and mailbox posts that are “virtually snowplow proof,” Reynolds said.

Other key parts of the project include significant regrading and improvements to the intersection at Johnson Road, particularly the sight lines, that should make the area safer for motorists.

The project also includes a small area of concrete curbing for stormwater management, town staff said at Tuesday’s meeting at Town Hall.

This reconstruction of Middle Road has been in the town’s capital improvement plan for several years, Reynolds said, and it’s the second phase of a long-term plan to totally redo the roadway.

Residents in attendance at Tuesday’s meeting said they are pleased with the initial road project that was completed this past fall. Reynolds said the contractor, Scott Dugas Trucking & Excavating in Yarmouth, did a “great job.”

Reynolds said the goal is to complete the design for the Middle Road project by March and to get both budget approval from the Town Council and a request for proposals out in April.

Construction would then start in July, the beginning of the new fiscal year, and likely run through October. Reynolds said there would be no total road closures and, barring an emergency situation, one lane of traffic would be open at all times.

Residents on Tuesday expressed interest in encouraging Summit Natural Gas of Maine to expand gas lines down Middle Road, but both Reynolds and Karen Farber, the council chairwoman, said that would be a business decision the company would have to make.

However, Reynolds said the town has reached out to the gas company to inform them the road will be opened up and “here’s your chance.”

While the Middle Road project will be funded by the town, the Maine Department of Transportation recently released the details of its new three-year transportation work plan, which includes several projects in Falmouth.

Among those projects are construction on the Dunham Road, Libby, Lambert Street and Presumpscot Falls bridges, as well as the Interstate 295 overpasses on Lunt and Johnson roads.

The state will also do construction work on Robert’s Road and make sidewalk improvements on both Leighton and Falmouth roads. There will also be some re-paving work near the Staples Point Bridge.

DOT plans to install new turn lanes and a signal at the intersection of Bucknam Road and Interstate 295 north. This $640,000 project is designed to make safety improvements to address what the state has designated as a high-crash location.

Other projects in the state’s work plan include reconstructing the intersection of Longwoods and Woods roads and the intersection of Route 9, Falmouth Road and Bucknam Road.

Ditching work will also be done along Winn, Depot and Blackstrap roads, and some trees will be cleared along Blackstrap as well. The state also plans to provide a new gangway and make float system improvements at the Town Landing.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KirishCollins.