Construction work along Main Street in downtown Waterville that’s part of the $11.2 million revitalization project is coming to a close. City officials had initially said Main and Front streets would switch from one-way traffic to two-way on Nov. 5, but they said Friday that complications with the construction will postpone the two-way change until later in November. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

WATERVILLE — The change from one-way to two-way traffic on Main and Front streets downtown is being postponed for about two weeks because of drainage issues at two intersections that need to be rectified.

City Manager Steve Daly announced at a City Council meeting early this month that the change to two-way would be Nov. 5, with a ribbon-cutting the day before to celebrate, but the ribbon-cutting has been moved to Nov. 18 and officials estimate the traffic change will occur earlier during that week of Nov. 14.

The main reason for the delay is that improper drainage at the intersections of Main and Temple streets, as well as Main and Appleton streets downtown, allowed water to sheet across the road instead of moving to the curbs. Three special catch basins need to be installed, according to city Engineer Andy McPherson.

“Because of this, we had to hold up paving,” McPherson said Friday. “We didn’t want to pave and then cut the road up the next day.”

Daly said Friday that U.S. Sen. Susan Collins will speak at the celebration, which is scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Nov. 18 on the south patio outside Lockwood Hotel. The event is expected to end about 5 p.m.

Garvan Donegan of the Central Maine Growth Council will emcee. State representatives and Kimberly N. Lindlof, president and CEO of the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, will be there. Colby College President David Greene has been invited but his schedule has not yet been confirmed, according to Daly.


“It’ll be so nice to have this project finished and I think people are going to have to go through an adjustment period, both the pedestrians and the motorists, because it will be a big, big change,” Daly said Friday.

He said signs will be erected to make people aware of traffic pattern changes. The aesthetics of downtown will be quite different, after a long period where the public encountered construction vehicles and barriers on the main streets, according to Daly.

“When people drive down the new Main Street, I think it’s going to be a jaw-dropper for them,” he said.

McPherson predicts the transition to two-way traffic will go well.

“I think it should be pretty smooth as long as people pay attention to the signs and the lights,” he said.

The traffic change will represent the culmination of a two-year, $11.2 million downtown revitalization project by the city, Colby and the state Department of Transportation that also included improved walkways, lighting, landscaping and intersections.

Collins advocated for federal money to change the traffic pattern and make improvements to downtown, and in 2018 she announced Waterville would receive a $7.37 million federal grant to alter the direction of travel, improve intersections, update sidewalks, add plantings, install benches and complete the nearby RiverWalk at Head of Falls.

The grant was part of $26.6 million awarded to Maine projects through the BUILD program to help improve infrastructure, create jobs, reduce traffic congestion and increase safety, Collins said at the time.

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