HALLOWELL — Construction is returning to downtown Hallowell, but officials say traffic will not be bottle-necked for very long.

The Maine Department of Transportation and Sargent Corp. will begin to put the finishing touches on Water Street’s reconstruction next month. The project started in April 2018, and businesses struggled with a lack of on-street parking and foot traffic through downtown Hallowell. Back in October 2018, two-way traffic was restored downtown after a small ceremony with local government officials.

Tentative dates for the restart are from April 8 to April 12, with contractors installing temporary water service on Chestnut Street and Middle Street. Crews will then remove railroad tracks from Chestnut Street and begin drainage work.

Project Resident Karen Libby said Chestnut Street and Middle Street will not be closed, but flaggers will control traffic.

Libby said railroad tracks will not be replaced as a part of this project, she said it would be up to another sector of the transportation department to decide if the tracks will return.

Eric Gay, the transportation department’s track safety inspector, was not immediately available for comment.

Libby said all work must be done by June 6 and this drainage work and final paving of Water Street are the only tasks left. She tentatively said paving could start in May, but a project fact sheet said paving was scheduled for June 3.

“They won’t be doing paving until later on when it warms up,” she said.

In 2017, Hallowell voters approved a $2.36 million bond package that included $600,000 toward the Water Street reconstruction. Hallowell City Manager Nate Rudy said, after the last payment to the transportation department, about $80,000 will remain from the bond. By default, Rudy said, that money goes toward improvements on city-owned buildings, but the City Council could decide to use the money on other projects.

“The council is going to need to deliberate on what to do,” Rudy said, citing the new Central Street parking lot or extending sidewalks as examples of projects the funds could go to if the council wishes.

Rudy said it will be “great” to see the reconstruction completed so the city can “move on to the next project.”


Sam Shepherd — 621-5666
[email protected]
Twitter: @SamShepME

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