Scarborough plans Pleasant Hill Road improvements

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SCARBOROUGH — It’s crowded and sometimes crumbling, but Pleasant Hill Road is not a high priority for the Maine Department of Transportation.

So Town Manager Tom Hall and Public Works Director Mike Shaw are at work on a two-year, two-phase plan to widen and upgrade the road at a total potential cost of $2 million to $2.8 million.

Work is expected to begin mid-June.

The planned widening and resurfacing will also allow the Portland Water District to upgrade water mains on the stretch of road from U.S. Route 1 to Highland Avenue. Shaw last week said he is also encouraging Unitil to extend gas mains, which currently end near Wallace Avenue in South Portland.

The local cost has not been determined, in part because there is a chance to get as much as $1 million in state funding, even though the DOT doesn’t highly rank the road low on its list of Highway Corridor Priorities. The road, considered a major collector road by the agency, has been assigned a value of four on a scale of one to six, with one the highest priority.

State funding would come from the DOT Municipal Partnership Agreement and be capped at a 50 percent share of costs, or an annual total of $500,000.

“This is a two-year, two-contract situation, so in theory it is eligible for consideration in two separate fiscal years,” Shaw said.

The remainder could be included in the next two capital improvement bonds Hall issues as part of the municipal budget.

Shaw said studies show an average of 10,000 daily trips on the stretch between U.S. Route 1 and Highland Avenue, which passes by a DOT facility.

To start, Shaw plans to work from Highland Avenue north to Rigby Road, near the railroad overpass. Plans call for resurfacing, improving drainage, and widening the road from 24 to 36 feet to add bicycle lanes.

Shaw said he hopes the first phase can be completed by Nov. 1. Work is expected to be done from 7 a.m.-7 p.m., with possible lane closures between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.

Road conditions, lane closures and delays would be publicized via the town’s new website and social media, Shaw said.

The second phase will include widening and resurfacing from the other side of the overpass to U.S. Route 1 in 2015.

“This is a complex project designed to be constructed by a qualified heavy highway contractor and will be bid out,” Shaw said.

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

Sidebar Elements

Resurfacing and widening work on Pleasant Hill Road from Highland Avenue to Rigby Road could begin in June as part of a two-phase project by the Scarborough Department of Public Works. Public Works Director Mike Shaw said he is also seeking state funding for what could be a $2.8 million project.

An overhead view of improvements to Pleasant Hill Road planned for a two-year, two-phase project.

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.