Rt. 1 construction in Falmouth on time, readying for winter

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FALMOUTH — Construction on U.S. Route 1 is scheduled to conclude for the year in the middle of November, and pick up again next spring.

But it’s up to the weather to decide how far construction will extend. Work could go on into December if Mother Nature cooperates. Major construction will wrap up for the year on Nov. 15, while final touches will likely continue up to Thanksgiving. However, Public Works Director Jay Reynolds said the project is on track.

“We’re pretty much on schedule from the original schedule that we put out back in March of this year,” he said. 

He said some additional work came up that pushed work back a few days, but overall the crews are on schedule. One of the things that pushed work back was a sewer main project the town wanted to complete across Route 1. The town wanted to do it now so the roads to avoid more construction in a few years.

“So they put in 300 feet of new sewer at a major intersection crossing that had to be done at nighttime … that was about two weeks right there that was not part of the initial project,” Reynolds said.

Additionally, a sewer extension and relocation on Bucknam Road near Foreside Tavern added an extra few days of unanticipated construction. Crews have been able to make up lost time though, thanks in large part to the nice weather.

“So in the end we’re about where we thought we’d be as far as late October goes,” he said.

Reynolds said the plan is to have majority of the heavy underground work completed before buttoning up for the winter, as well as some of the sidewalks, and most of the curb work and driveways completed. Conduits are also being installed for utility companies to run cables. On-property work on businesses is occurring over the next few weeks.

“We’re actually trying to do more,” said Rob Wilson, a foreman from Sargent Corp., a contractor. “The goal is to get 90 percent of everything complete and just clean up in the spring.”

Wilson said construction crews are hoping to get all the storm drainage and sidewalk work done before they finish for the year. He said the work has been going well, but challenges always appear, especially “when you’re digging in the ground.”

“There’s so much underground, very seldom is it cut and dry,” Wilson said.

When April rolls around, streetlights and landscaping will be installed. Reynolds said one of the first things done in the spring will be “taking down the overhead utilities once all the underground utilities are energized and businesses are tied into it.”

Meanwhile, he said, “what you see at the end of November is what you’ll see at the beginning of April.”

“We are planning on doing some paving to get us through winter,” Reynolds said. “There’s some areas that are kind of rough that are still planned to be paved so that we don’t have pothole issues through winter.”

Final paving work will probably start next June, and the final completion date of the project won’t be until August 2015.

Colin Ellis can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @colinoellis.

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Rob Wilson, a foreman for Sargent Corporation, directs as storm drainage work is done on U.S. Route 1 just outside the KeyBank plaza. Wilson said the hope is to get 90 percent of the major work done before crews stop for the winter, leaving just clean up and some landscaping work for the spring.

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Reporter covering the Portland Public School District as well as the town of Falmouth for The Forecaster. Can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or cellis@theforecaster.net.