Portland gets 4 bids for Congress Street changes

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PORTLAND — Changing Congress Street to enhance bus service has drawn interest from four bidders.

The request for proposals opened at City Hall on April 11 drew bids ranging from $400,000 to almost $430,000 for sidewalk extensions, bus shelter foundations and traffic signal modifications from Park to Elm streets.

The work will be funded through the Downtown Transit Oriented Development tax increment finance district, and the RFP requires all work to be completed by Nov. 15.

Tax increment financing districts can set aside increased property valuations for use on road, sidewalk or other infrastructure projects.

Hebron-based J. Pratt Construction submitted the low bid of $400,600. The high bid came from Gorham-based Glidden Excavating & Paving. City-based Tito Masonry submitted a $420,700 bid, and R. E. Coleman Excavation, also based in Portland, bid $417,000.

The project, formally called the Congress Street Bus Corridor Improvements – Phase 1B Project, dates to a 2013 report considered to be a component of improving public transportation.

The report considered two sets of alternatives, giving the RFP its “Phase 1B’ designation. The RFP does not go to the full extent of making recommendations, since the report also suggested banning left turns to and from some cross streets and reversing the flow of traffic on the Federal Street extension from the Free Street Garage to Congress Street.

The scope of the work includes widening sidewalks at intersections along Congress Street and setting new bus shelters so buses will no longer pull to the side to pick up or drop off passengers.

METRO will provide the bus shelters, but intersections eastbound at Park Street and westbound near Elm and Casco streets, and on both sides Forest Avenue, will be affected. 

Throughout the intersections, traffic signals will be “reprogrammed to provide appropriate pedestrian crossing times,” according to the RFP. New striping to mark pedestrian crossing will also be added at intersections.

At Congress and Park streets, the sidewalk bordering the southbound Congress Street lane will be extended into the intersection. Contractors will also be replacing catch basins and curbing. The RFP requires all work to be done between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m.

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

Buses stopping for passengers on Congress Street in Portland will remain in travel lanes at some intersections when road work is completed later this year.

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.