AUGUSTA – Mayfair neighborhood residents should be adept at dodging orange cones and ditch diggers after this construction season, which features gas and sewer lines being installed under the tightly packed residential neighborhood’s streets.
Thursday night, residents of the east side neighborhood near the intersection of Eastern Avenue and Hospital Street will hear from officials from Maine Natural Gas, Greater Augusta Utility District and the city, what each has planned there for this construction season.
The meeting, according to Ward 2 City Councilor Darek Grant, whose Hutchinson Drive home is within the neighborhood, is meant to inform residents about the projects, give them a chance to express their thoughts and concerns and hopefully be a start to improved communications about such projects which can be disruptive to residents and motorists.
“Based on the experience of last summer, with natural gas lines being put everywhere in the city, I think people appreciate having natural gas come to Augusta, but at the same time it was a significant inconvenience for many traveling around the city,” Grant said. “The biggest feedback I got was people wanted to know what was going on, a little heads up. There’s a lot of work going on around Augusta, people want to know what’s going on. They want to make sure they don’t invest time and money in their yard, for example, just to have someone come tear it up two weeks later.”
The meeting is Thursday at 7 p.m. in the lecture hall at Augusta City Center.
Work is already underway on natural gas pipeline installation in Mayfair.
Mayfair resident Tom Connors said that work is not yet taking place in his part of the neighborhood, on Duncan Road, but he has to go through the construction to get just about anywhere.
Connors and Grant said it can be challenging, as crews work and move between sites, to find a consistent, construction-free route.
“Entering and leaving Mayfair is like a maze if you want to avoid work areas,” Connors said.
Greater Augusta Utility District officials also plan to do some pavement-ripping work this summer in Mayfair.
Superintendent Brian Tarbuck said the district plans to install a new water main on Windsor Avenue this summer. He said a main installed there previously wasn’t installed correctly and the line has had failures as a result.
Tarbuck said the district is doing the work now to get new pipe in before the city’s planned repaving project on Windsor Avenue next summer.
Grant said there is also a possibility the city could start the repaving of Windsor Avenue this summer.
Grant said if the meeting goes well and proves to be useful there could be similar neighborhood meetings about such construction work in the city.
He said last summer some residents in work areas would have work taking place on their streets, tearing up parts of their front yards, then have work stop and contractors leave the site for a couple of weeks before they would come back. In the meantime, Grant said, some residents were left not knowing when or if the contractors would return to finish the work on their streets and restore their yards.
He said people also want to know, ahead of time, when work is coming to their neighborhood, or to their commuter route, so they can plan for its arrival.
“Ultimately, it can’t hurt to improve communication,” Grant said.
Keith Edwards – 621-5647 | [email protected] | Twitter: @kedwardskj