AUGUSTA — The Planning Board on Tuesday unanimously approved construction of a new Connected Credit Union with a two-lane drive-thru at the corner of Civic Center Drive and Gaywalk Street.

The proposed new building for Connected Credit Union, which until last year was called the Maine Education Credit Union, will serve as the credit union’s main office, replacing its 15 University Drive and South Chestnut Street locations. The credit union’s branch at Capital Area Technical Center will remain in place, according to Richard Lachance, president of the credit union.

The project was approved with conditions requiring a bi-directional left-turning lane to be built in the center of Civic Center Drive, providing access both to the new Connected Credit Union and, on the opposite side of the street, to University Drive, the access road to the University of Maine at Augusta.

Alison Nichols, a board member, noted that Civic Center Drive doesn’t have a sidewalk there and has a fair amount of pedestrian traffic to and from UMA, so vehicles should not use the breakdown lanes. So her motion, approved 5-0 by the board, made approval conditional on the left-turn lane being added and the current 6-foot breakdown lanes being maintained to provide space for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The city’s engineer, Lionel Cayer, said he met with state Department of Transportation officials to discuss concerns about the potential effect on traffic on Civic Center Drive. He said the road is considered a mobility corridor by the state, and preventing disruptions to traffic was a priority. He recommended requiring the credit union to add a bi-directional left-turn lane on Civic Center Drive.

Jim Coffin, of Coffin Engineering and Surveying, who said he was representing the credit union, agreed a left-turn lane would be added as part of the project.

“It appears that is going to work very well and still maintain 6-foot breakdown/bike lane,” Cayer said.

Coffin said he has spoken with DOT officials, because the agency now is rebuilding Mount Vernon Avenue, which turns into Civic Center Drive in the area, and said the credit union’s entrance could be integrated into the DOT’s overall plans for the road.

Lachance said the new building would consolidate the credit union’s offices on University Drive and South Chestnut Street into a full-service facility. He said neither of the smaller locations is full-service.

The new building will be three stories tall, Coffin said, with a partial basement and partial upper floor.

The credit union has about 4,000 members and serves educators from across the state and anyone living or working in Kennebec or Somerset counties. Lachance said the building could open in late spring 2016.

The new office would have a drive-thru with two lanes and entrances and exits on both Civic Center Drive and Gaywalk Street across from the Dunkin’ Donuts that is on the northern corner of Gaywalk Street.

Matt Nazar, city development director, said the proposal meets all standards of the city’s ordinances.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj


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