HALLOWELL — Maine Department of Transportation Project Manager Ernie Martin laid out a number of feasibility plans in connection with the Water Street reconstruction project during a meeting Thursday at Hall-Dale Elementary School.

The reconstruction zone begins 0.1 mile north of Winthrop Street and extends 0.42 mile south to the boat launch.

Mayor Mark Walker said this is part of an ongoing dialogue between the DOT and the city, and he said there would be continued forums and more opportunities for communication between the parties involved in the project. Hallowell will have at least two, maybe three, new councilors in January, and Walker said there will be plenty of opportunities for education about the specifics of the project.

Martin spoke to more than 30 people and addressed the project’s work schedule, the final design plan and the process moving forward of advertising the project to contractors. Councilors Alan Stearns, the chairman of the city’s Highway Committee, George LaPointe, Michael Frett, Phil Lindley, Diano Circo and Lisa Harvey-McPherson; City Manager Nate Rudy; and Stevens Commons owner and developer Matt Morrill were among the notables in attendance.

The meeting’s goal, Martin said, was to make sure the design was set and buttoned up before transportation officials “can move along and figure out how we’re going to get this thing built.”

Martin said the entire project will be completed in 2018 except for the surface paving, which would occur the following year. All work would take place Monday through Friday, and there would be no work on Saturdays and Sundays or state and city holidays.

The working day would be from sunrise to sunset Monday through Thursday and from sunrise until 3 p.m. Friday. Martin did say, however, that there may be five days of 24-hour work; but other than those five days, no night work is planned.

Martin said the project will be advertised starting in early January 2018, with the bids to be opened on Jan. 31, 2018. The project would be awarded to the winning contractor two months later.

Martin expects construction to begin in March 2018, which is an earlier estimate that transportation officials gave previously. During the last major DOT meeting in Hallowell, which was held in April, Martin said he anticipated work would begin in April 2018.

The transportation department knows this will be a long process with a lot of challenges, Martin said, including the effect the project will have on the many users of the corridor, the high morning and evening traffic volumes, the parking concerns along Water Street and the access to and from businesses and residential locations.

“We’re all well aware of what we’re facing,” Martin said. “We’ve got a long way to go.”

At the meeting in April, Martin gave specific dates for the start and completion of the work; but Thursday night he said the exact dates would be announced after future analysis and discussion.

In April, the Hallowell Highway Committee and Councilor Alan Stearns, the chairman, hosted a meeting to unveil the preliminary design plan for the reconstruction project. Stearns, the city’s driving force behind the project, gave a presentation outlining the city’s role in the process and the associated costs.

Stearns said the city should expect to incur costs of more than $130,000 for drainage work on Central and Union streets and additional costs associated with new streetlights and other improvements. That figure is still well below the more than $800,000 the state will pay for drainage problems on other streets, including Union and Temple streets.

There is $3.24 million in total project funding available, Martin said, but he thinks the department might need additional money to complete the work. Any additional monetary needs would be determined at a much later date.

The next public meeting in Hallowell about the project has not been scheduled. The city will have at least two, and maybe three, new councilors in January, and Martin said there will be plenty of opportunities for continued communcation and education about the specifics of the project.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ


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