FARMINGDALE — Road construction will ramp up this week along the U.S. Route 201 corridor and affect traffic movement between Gardiner and Augusta.

Crews will begin working around the clock Monday to install culvert and fully reconstruct the roadway, closing lanes and crimping traffic flow as they work along a mile-and-a-half stretch of highway.

“Increased lane closures will occur, with flaggers controlling traffic, as the road is reduced to a single lane at points within the 1.5-mile section that is being rebuilt,” according to a prepared statement from the contractor, Sargent Corp.

Officials at the Maine Department of Transportation advise drivers to consider using an alternate route unless they are visiting a business within the work zone. Alternate routes include, to the west, Blaine Road and Northern Avenue; and, to the east, Route 9.

Lane closures are expected to continue throughout August and September.

The project, a complete reconstruction from just south of DNK Used Cars to the intersection of Northern Avenue, is scheduled to conclude in November.

Road reconstruction began this spring with roadside excavation for water line installation.

The $6 million project is to result in two newly paved lanes, each 11 feet wide, paved shoulders 5 feet wide on both sides, new lighting at the Northern Avenue intersection, cross-walks with signs and blinking caution lights and a 5-foot sidewalk along the west side of road.

“As we move into full roadway reconstruction and the installation of several large box culverts, taking the road down to one lane in certain places is unavoidable,” said John Sturgeon, project manager for Sargent. “We think it’s important to let drivers know that delays are expected as flaggers alternate traffic flow in each direction.”

Access to all businesses along the highway is being maintained throughout the project unless individual driveway or parking lot entrances are being improved.

But business owners have bristled at what they say have been financial losses caused by the work.

John Babb, president of J&S Oil Co. Inc., said his Farmingdale store is running specials to draw business, inicluding midweek discounts of five cents per gallon of gas from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Babb said J&S Oil lost about 15 percent of its business volume when the state reconstructed the northern end of Maine Avenue about five years ago.

“We understand that there is going to be impacts, and we try what we can to alleviate it,” Mark Latti, public information officer for the Maine Department of Transportation, said. “We tried to lessen the impact by condensing the work into one season.”

Latti said MaineDOT is also working with Sargent Corp. by accommodating motorists during peak traveling hours.

For example, he said, flaggers let more motorists through on their way to and from work as opposed to letting an equal amount of vehicles pass during the day. At times, he said, they put flaggers in front of businesses so people can get in and out easier.

For more information, drivers are encouraged to visit MaineDOT.gov where they can sign up for email alerts.

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