Portland street, sewer construction coming to area near USM

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PORTLAND — Road and infrastructure construction later this year is likely to complicate travel around the University of Southern Maine.

On Jan. 11 at King Middle School, city officials detailed sewer separation work planned on both sides of Forest Avenue, including the stretch of Bedford Street that passes through the USM campus.

A second meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m., also at King Middle School, 92 Deering Ave., is expected to provide more information about the roundabout planned at the confluence of Deering and Brighton avenues and Falmouth Street.

Work to separate stormwater and wastewater flow could begin in April, city  Stormwater Project Engineer Justin Pellerin said in a Jan. 11 email.

The project, estimated to cost $4.2 million, is part of the city’s effort to reduce the overall flow of water to the Portland Water District treatment plant near East End Beach, by channeling stormwater to Back Cove.

“Stormwater will tie into new storm drains to be installed in Bedford Street, Durham Street, Forest Avenue, Baxter Boulevard, Deerfield Road and Belmeade Road,” Pellerin said in a Dec. 27 memo.

As part of the project, new wastewater lines will be installed on Bedford and Durham streets, he added. The city is asking property owners to note any drainage problems they have so sump pumps or roof drains can be linked to stormwater channeling.

The project could also include ancillary work on utilities and services in the area. PWD has expressed interest in replacing water mains, and Pellerin said individual property owners should consider coordinating services such as natural gas hookups or disconnections with their utility companies.

The city has been operating under a consent agreement with federal and state environmental agencies to reduce the flow of contaminated wastewater into Casco Bay.

Redirecting the flow of stormwater reduces the chances of the PWD water treatment plant being inundated during severe storms.

Funding for the sewer separation projects come in large part from a monthly service charge assessed to property owners, who pay $6 for every 1,200 square feet of impervious area.

Roundabout

Studies on converting the intersection near USM and the University of Maine School of Law date to 2011, and the city has been committed to building a roundabout there since 2013.

Initial plans called for two roundabouts, one where Deering and Brighton avenues meet Falmouth Street, and one where Bedford Street and Deering Avenue intersect. Escalating cost estimates, now at $2.8 million, led to scrapping the second roundabout.

Instead, the section of Brighton Avenue between Bedford Street and Deering Avenue will be discontinued. A small, one-way portion of Bedford Street between Deering and Brighton avenues will be opened to two-way traffic. 

Manager Conrad Welzel said the project is expected to go out to bid in the fall, with construction to possibly being in fall or early next winter.

Within the nearly $2.87 million total cost estimate, $2.15 million will be paid with U.S. Department of Transportation funds passed through the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System. The remaining $717,000 will come from the city’s capital improvements budget.

The project also required USM to convey parcels of land adjacent to the intersection to create enough space for the roundabout.

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

The city and state are converting the intersection of Brighton and Deering avenues and Falmouth Street in Portland into a roundabout. The project could go out to bid in the fall.

The planned roundabout near USM is estimated to cost nearly $2.87 million, with Portland paying $717,000. It would also mean closing Brighton Avenue between the intersection and Bedford Avenue.

A Portland sewer separation project in the outlined areas could begin as soon as April, according to city officials, at an estimated cost of $4.2 million.

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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.