AUGUSTA — South Belfast Avenue opened to one-lane traffic Wednesday after being closed Tuesday due to construction of the Maine Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife’s Togus Pond Family Fishing Facility project.

The facility will be the state’s first fully accessible family fishing area, according to state officials.

According to the proposal, approved by the Augusta Planning Board in May 2020, the project involves:

• Adding a 24-foot-wide boat launch that will be accessible to those with disabilities.

• Providing two 12-foot-wide, hand-carry boat launches, one each on Togus Pond and Lower Togus Pond, with boarding floats.

• Adding two parking areas totaling 17 spaces.

The project’s plans also call for installing sidewalks, crosswalks and casting platforms on both sides of the existing bridge. These, along with retaining walls, should reduce shoreline erosion, according to officials.

The project does not include buildings; however, portable toilets are also planned for the site.

Fishermen now fish off the edge of the South Belfast Avenue roadway or launch canoes and kayaks into the river from the shore near the bridge. This project is expected to provide a safer fishing experience because it includes fishing platforms, sidewalks and crosswalks. Much of the development is proposed to take place on the north side of the road, off Hurley Lane.

The project is estimated to cost about $500,000, with 75% paid by federal funds and the rest by state dollars dedicated to improving public water access.

The Augusta Police Department announced Tuesday the road would be closed so two casting platforms can be installed adjacent. Motorists were guided to a detour route on Bolton Hill Road, North Belfast Avenue (Route 3), Weeks Mill Road and Ward Road.

Diano Circo, chief planner for the state Department of Inland Fisheries & Wildlife, said South Belfast Avenue will likely continue to be down to one lane for the next two to three weeks.

Later in the project, Circo said, the road might again be down to one lane when paving work begins.

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