Portland street work promises peninsula traffic problems

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PORTLAND — Navigating the city peninsula by car is about to become very challenging.

Repaving and utility work on major east-west and north-south streets will effect motorists immediately and continue through May, according to city press releases.

Beginning Wednesday, April 27, State Street will be closed from 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday from Cumberland Avenue to Congress Street. New sewer, stormwater and gas mains will be extended beneath State Street where it intersects Deering Street.

The work is expected to last three weeks, and acting Public Works Director Bob Leeman said Monday that work on Saturdays is a possibility.

Also Wednesday, the Maine Department of Transportation will begin work on Spring, Middle and Temple streets, with repaving scheduled to begin the week of May 9.

The work will include Spring and Middle streets from Franklin to State streets, and Temple Street from Congress to Commercial streets. City spokeswoman Jessica Grondin said the work schedules are 7 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and Saturday work could be added if necessary. 

Traffic will be limited to alternating one-lane travel in work areas, and parking will be restricted. Once Spring Street is repaved, new lines will be painted to allow new turn lanes.

The parking patterns on Spring Street from east of High Street to Temple Street will also be changed. Drivers will no longer be required to back into angled parking spaces.

Grondin said the parking change will eliminate traffic stoppages caused when drivers back into spaces, and eliminate the need for parking control officers to step into Spring Street to check for parking meter receipts on dashboards.

On May 2, the MDOT will start repaving on Franklin and Commercial streets. The first stage on Franklin Street from Middle to Commercial is expected to last through May 4.

The rest of the work schedule, from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. is:

• May 3-6: Commercial from Franklin to Market streets, westbound only.

• May 9-12: Commercial from Market to Center streets, westbound only.

• May 16-20: Commercial from Center Street to the International Marine Terminal, westbound only.

• May 23-27: Commercial from Center Street to IMT, eastbound only.

• May 31 to June 3: Commercial from Center to Franklin streets, eastbound only.

Grondin said the final three stages are contingent on the progress Unitil makes on gas mains. Parking and deliveries will be banned in work areas, but two-way traffic will be maintained as best as possible. Flaggers will also be posted at intersections. 

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

Paving work on Franklin and Commercial streets detailed here is one of three projects affecting peninsula traffic until the end of May.

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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.