Yarmouth council OKs Condon path-Route 1 design change

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YARMOUTH — The likely completion date for the Beth Condon Pathway is no earlier than 2014, according to Town Engineer Dan Jellis.

But rerouting the path directly under the East Main Street overpass on Route 1 could allow for lower construction costs while also alleviating problems with speeding traffic on southbound Route 1, Jellis said.

By a 5-2 vote last on Feb. 16, town councilors approved the suggested design change for the extension of the pathway from Exit 17 off Interstate 295 to the Hannaford Bros. shopping plaza.

The revision comes with a $25,000 price tag for creating the final plans, money that will not be reimbursed by the Maine Department of Transportation, Jellis said.

Work to extend the pedestrian path, named for a Yarmouth teen who died after being struck by a car, has been planned for several years. State transportation officials have agreed to fund 80 percent, or up to $400,000, of the projected $500,000 cost.

Allocating the money for revising design plans Jellis expects to be finished by summer reduces the town fund for the project to about $70,000, according to Town Manager Nat Tupper.

The revision means the path next to Route 1 will still go under the East Main Street overpass, and calls for reducing two southbound lanes to one at the overpass and all the way to the Hannaford Bros. shopping plaza.

Jellis said he is optimistic the new plan, which creates a raised walkway and dedicated bicycle lane at road level, will be approved by the MDOT. The plan would create 13 feet of raised surface next to the southbound lane on Route 1 and a 5-foot bicycle lane.

The new design could prove to be less expensive to build because the path will not be cut into embankments next to Route 1, so stone retaining walls will not be needed for support, Jellis said.

At a council workshop earlier this month, he said the final total construction cost to town and state cost could drop below $400,000, while councilors said they were opposed to spending more than $100,000 of town money for designing and building the path extension.

The plans do not affect lanes on northbound Route 1, and councilors said they want to keep dedicated right- and left-turn lanes from southbound Route 1 into the Hannaford Bros. shopping plaza and to Willow Street.

The Beth Condon Memorial Pathway now runs from Portland Road along Route 1 and into the center of town before ending near the Hannaford Bros. shopping plaza.

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

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Bond amount not set for new Yarmouth Public Works facility

YARMOUTH — The Town Council on Feb. 16 agreed without a vote to continue discussions on a new facility for public works equipment maintenance and storage when a final cost estimate becomes available.

The consensus decision may lead to a June referendum on a bond to pay for construction on the site of the current facility. Council Chairman Steve Woods said councilors will decide next month on the bond amount.

Public Works Director Erik Street was joined by Will Conway, a landscape architect with Westbrook-based Sebago Technics, and Ryan Senatore, of Portland-based TFH Architects, in presenting sketches and floor plans for the offices, maintenance bays and storage areas to accommodate town and School Department vehicles and equipment.

Street has estimated the 20,000-square-foot facility could cost between $4.5 million and $5.5 million. The building and storage areas would replace two buildings estimated to be between 40 and 50 years old and expand space used for vehicle maintenance and washing.

The 45-minute presentation and hearing drew little public comment, although David Craig of the town Energy Savings Committee suggested construction plans include wood chip or biomass heating sources instead of liquid propane or natural gas.

In expressing his unhappiness about the proposed project, Portland Street resident Ronald Terry said the local tax burden is already too high.

“You are spending $5 million to coddle trucks,” Terry said, calling construction plans “infuriating and embarrassing.”

— David Harry

This story was corrected on March 1, 2012.

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.