AUGUSTA — Construction of a new headquarters for the Maine National Guard is progressing as scheduled, and a new traffic light on Civic Center Drive meant to help handle the additional traffic will be activated by the end of the month, state and federal officials said this week.

Lt. Col. Norm Michaud said the new 100,000-square-foot, two-story facility is expected to be completed by next August. The National Guard plans to move into the building in January 2018.

“We’ve been very fortunate that nothing crazy has happened with the project to date,” Michaud said.

Construction of the $32 million Guard headquarters, located in a formerly wooded area between Civic Center Drive and the Maine Veterans’ Memorial Cemetery, began in August 2015.

In connection with the new facility, the Maine Department of Transportation created a four-way intersection with a traffic signal on Civic Center Drive at Darin Drive.

Transportation department press secretary Ted Talbot said the contract stipulates the traffic signal must be operational by Nov. 30, and he doesn’t anticipate the lights being turned on “too much before that.”


According to Michaud, a lot of the recent work on the headquarters has been to prepare the site for the winter. The facility will be heated temporarily on the inside to allow construction workers to keep working throughout the winter.

“We are substantially weather-tight and have covers on all of the temporary openings,” Michaud said. “We’re at that point where we’re making sure we’re buttoned-up in anticipation of the cold weather.”

Mechanical, electrical and plumbing work is taking place on both floors, partition walls are being built and windows are being installed, Michaud said.

Because of the four-way intersection, the realigned Blue Star Avenue will provide access to the cemetery, the new Guard headquarters, the Comfort Inn motel and the Ninety-Nine Restaurant & Pub.

In May, project manager Brian Keezer said Blue Star Avenue will be realigned so it meets Civic Center Drive opposite Darin Drive, creating a four-way intersection with a traffic signal. There are left-turning lanes, also with signals, for motorists turning from Civic Center Drive onto Darin Drive or Blue Star Avenue.

Keezer said access directly onto Civic Center Drive for those business will remain, but it will be limited to right-in, right-out traffic only, with motorists looking to turn left in or out using the new intersection.


Access to the Guard’s new headquarters will be off Blue Star Avenue, with a permanent gatehouse and two separate entrances controlling access to the site, Michaud said. Guard employees will swipe a security card to gain access at one entrance, while the other, probably staffed, gatehouse will be for visitors.

A traffic study submitted to the Augusta Planning Board as part of the project’s approval process projected the new headquarters would add 208 vehicles on Civic Center Drive during the peak morning weekday commuting hours and 200 during the evening peak weekday commute.

The new facility is named Camp Chamberlain after former Maine governor, adjutant general and Civil War commander Joshua L. Chamberlain.

It will be the headquarters of senior Army National Guard and Air National Guard employees in human resources, intelligence, operations, logistics and resource guidance; and it will support the major commands in the Maine National Guard, public affairs officer Maj. Norman J. Stickney said in May.

About 260 people are expected to work at the new facility. The Guard’s current headquarters, Camp Keyes, will remain open and will house family and veterans outreach services, ground maintenance support, printing plant operations, training sites and resource management, shipping and receiving and facilities maintenance.

Jason Pafundi — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @jasonpafundiKJ

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