WATERVILLE — Work to install a Summit Natural Gas pipeline downtown caused traffic backups in the area Tuesday, but a company spokesman said traffic should be moving more smoothly through that area on Wednesday.

“Our crews made good progress today, so tomorrow all commuters can look forward to a bit of traffic relief with increased traffic flow, more open lanes and signalized light control in downtown Waterville,” said Mike Duguay, Summit’s director of business development, in an email Tuesday.

He said because of the heavy traffic and the fact that voting was taking place at the American Legion on College Avenue, the project was moved to Post Office Square, which is about a quarter mile from the Legion hall.

He said the email the company “took all necessary steps to reduce the impact on traffic during peak hours.”

The pipeline workers had set up equipment near Post Office Square at the intersection of Main and Elm streets and College Avenue. The traffic lights were set to blinking red at College and Main in front of Central Fire Station, where flaggers were directing motorists through the lights.

As a result, vehicles at times during the day were backed up from the traffic lights in front of the fire station to the underpass on College Avenue, about half a mile.

Pipeline workers Tuesday dug on Elm Street, just north of the Waterville Public Library. Traffic lights were set to blinking yellow at the intersection of Elm and Appleton streets.

Traffic also was backed up and delayed on Main Street, from about Getchell Street to the intersection with Main and Elm at the traffic lights in front of Rite Aid.

Duguay said that the company tried to keep the impact of the construction to a minimum.

He said city officials and project engineers and traffic control specialists “are always looking for the safest ways to reduce the impact on the public so anytime traffic flow is heavy and public safety is at risk, flaggers are used.”

Many motorists waiting in line at traffic lights either turned around or turned off on side streets to find a quicker way to get through downtown Tuesday.

Duguay said in his email the driving force behind the company’s work this summer is the goal is to ensure city residents have access to gas heat by winter.

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

Twitter: @AmyCalder17

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