WATERVILLE — Road construction downtown is taking a turn this week as the single lane of southbound traffic on Main Street is being switched from the east to the west lane as paving continues.

The road construction, part of the $11.2 million downtown revitalization project, is behind schedule because of labor shortages and other issues, but it’s expected to be completed on time in November 2022, according to city Engineer Andy McPherson. It’s a project involving the city, Colby College and the state Department of Transportation.

“Things are going pretty well,” McPherson said. “The project’s behind the initial schedule set by the contractor by about a month or two, depending on what area you’re talking about.”

Crooker Construction Inc. of Topsham is the contractor working on the downtown roads, which represents about $9.5 million of the project, McPherson said.

“The total expenditure to date is maybe 20% of the project and the work done is on budget,” he said.

Meanwhile, other city road-paving projects totaling $480,000 are in progress, including those on Marston Road, Eastern Avenue and Oakland Place, off Western Avenue, according to Matt Skehan, director of the city’s public works department. Earlier in the summer, improvements also were made to Webb Road.

More than 2 miles of roadway will be paved, Skehan said, and the projects remain on budget.

“Within the next few weeks, the city’s annual paving will be complete,” he said.

Pike Industries of Fairfield has been paving the entire length of Kennedy Memorial Drive as part of a state DOT project, he said.

“We’re very pleased with the project on KMD,” Skehan said. “That’s a huge project.”

The Waterville Sewerage District, Kennebec Water District and Kennebec Sanitary Treatment District have been laying new underground utilities along the roads being paved, he said.

“I’m very encouraged by the city manager, City Council and mayor moving forward in the future,” Skehan said. “All entities on the city side are very interested in making improvements to more of our roads. We’ve been picking away at things over the years, doing a handful of streets each year, but there’s a concerted effort to be more aggressive in our plans to make improvements to our roads.”

A worker moves barricades Thursday on Main Street in downtown Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

He said city officials have met several times to discuss the best way to approach road work, make the best and most efficient use of money, and do more in a shorter period of time.

As part of the downtown construction, intersections will be improved and realigned, and one-way traffic on Main and Front streets will become two-way at the end of next year when new traffic lights also will be functioning. Main Street will be landscaped with new granite curbs, lights, trees and brick paver sidewalks and crosswalks. The project includes a $7.3 million BUILD grant the city received from the federal Department of Transportation.

The islands at Spring, Front, Main and Water streets were removed in March and a new intersection will be built that will allow traffic to maneuver through streets more smoothly, according to plans. A traffic light will be installed there, but lanes allowing motorists to move through the intersection without stopping at the lights also will be available.

Workers on Thursday were installing granite curbing on the south end of Front Street, McPherson said. Paving downtown is expected to continue until Nov. 15.

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