Residents and business owners will weigh in on the planned reconstruction of Water Street through Hallowell’s downtown at a public meeting set for 6 p.m. Thursday at City Hall.
Councilors will provide information on the project and seek feedback on it. The road, which is U.S. Route 201 and the main thoroughfare through downtown, has an exaggerated crown, sloping toward the sidewalk on the Kennebec River side.
The reconstruction project couldn’t happen until 2016 at the earliest, because that’s when state and federal funding would become available. It will likely be later. However, a city council committee has been paring down options for the scope of construction since last year.
The first option would be light paving, but not fix the crown. The second is the commitee’s preferred option: full reconstruction of the stretch mostly between Temple Street and the Augusta line — about a mile. It would allow for new sidewalks and lighting and utility improvements while costing an estimated $2.8 million in state and federal money and taking between five and six months.
Still, ever since another public meeting last May, the downtown business community has worried about the project crippling the downtown for a summer. Some have said the project would greatly reduce foot traffic, potentially putting businesses under.