Late-summer projects begin on South Portland streets

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SOUTH PORTLAND — Construction and repaving projects are taking shape in the eastern portion of the city.

Resurfacing of a more than 1-mile stretch of Broadway between Cottage Road and Pickett Street is underway. Maine Department of Transportation spokesman Ted Talbot said the $850,000 project is expected to be completed by mid-September. The job contractor is Gorham-based Shaw Brothers Construction.

Once resurfaced, the lane configurations on Broadway will be changed to add a center lane for left-turning vehicles between Stanford to Walnut streets. The new lane will eliminate some parking on Broadway, but is expected to reduce traffic congestion to and from Southern Maine Community College.

Enhancements at Broadway and Mussey Street are expected to make that intersection safer for pedestrians, with improved crosswalks and push-button walk and yield signals.

Closer to Cottage Road, parking will be eliminated in front of Hazard Tower, in favor of a turn-in spot for buses. The work will be funded by the South Portland Housing Authority.

Uphill from Broadway on Mussey Street, the year’s only separation project for storm and waste water will begin later this month. It is expected to take six weeks to add 1,500 feet of pipelines and new catch basins so storm water will not flow to the city water treatment plant.

Work in the area of Mussey and Sprague streets, near the former Roosevelt School, will also include new water mains installed by the Portland Water District.

“It is more of a complete project looking at how can we help the neighborhood as well,” Water Resource Protection Department engineer Brad Weeks said.

Weeks also assured Mayor Tom Blake at Monday’s City Council meeting that the project, although near the Broadway repaving, will not further impede Southern Maine Community College traffic.

“We’re in the neighborhood, we are not on East Broadway,” he said.

The last funding element for the project was approved at the council meeting, where a unanimous vote added $171,000 from the Fairchild tax increment finance fund to the $184,000 already allocated in the fiscal year 2013 Capital Improvement Budget.

Councilors also awarded the job to Gorham-based R.J. Grondin, which submitted the low bid of almost $345,500.

Clements Street resident Timothy Higginbottom said Monday he welcomed the work.

“We are next to the drain that becomes a major whirlpool in heavy rain events,” he said.

Also under construction is a new transit hub for city buses at Ocean and Thomas streets. The project was postponed last year because of other infrastructure work in Knightville.

A more-than $277,000 construction bid from Freeport-based Doten Construction was accepted by city councilors June 17. The total project cost, including engineering and other oversight and inspection costs, is $305,000.

The majority of funding comes from a federal transit grant of about $175,000, but the city also added $30,000 from undesignated fund balances to offset bids that were higher than anticipated. Former city Transportation Director Tom Meyers attributed the added expanse to zoning requirements in the Village Commercial Zone.

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

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.