FALMOUTH — While it likely won’t cause the level of frustration being experienced this month by motorists in downtown Portland, construction on U.S. Route 1 this summer may still affect traffic.
Work has already begun on a project to install median islands on the southern stretch of the road. Public Works Director Jay Reynolds said the work is being done in advance of repaving projects along Route 1 by the Maine Department of Transportation, the town and the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System.
Reynolds said medians are being built from the Martin’s Point Bridge to north of Route 88. Additionally, he said, there will be some geometric work done to improve the intersection of Route 1 and Route 88 to make it safer for bicyclists, pedestrians and vehicles.
The work was prompted by a safety audit done by the Federal Highway Administration that looked at “all user groups” on Route 1 to Veranda Street and Back Cove in Portland.
“They identified Route 88 as a confusing and dangerous intersection,” Reynolds said.
The intersection work is also being done ahead of the repaving project, which, Reynolds said, will begin in June and likely wrap up in August. The section of Route 1 north of the Maine Turnpike spur up to the Cumberland border will also be repaved by MDOT.
A portion of Middle Road will also be completely rebuilt this summer, beginning in June or July. The bid for the work was awarded to Yarmouth-based Scott Dugas Trucking & Excavating, for $700,000. Reynolds said the repaving projects are still out to bid, but estimated the cost would be around $1.5 million.
Reynolds said he did not expect the work to result in road closures this summer, but did say there will likely be lane shifts and alternating one-way traffic at times.
“There may be a chance some of the paving occurs in the evening hours or overnight in business areas, to avoid some traffic delays,” he said. “Otherwise it shouldn’t be too bad as far as traffic delays go.”
Crews install median islands on U.S. Route 1 in Falmouth last week. The work is being done in advance of a repaving project by the Maine Department of Transportation, and is just one of several road construction projects planned this summer in Falmouth.