Work on State Street in Portland is expected to resume in April, beginning what will likely be a frustrating few months for commuters and area residents.
In addition to periodic lane closures on the heavily traveled north-to-south arterial, drivers will also have to navigate a detour associated with the expansion of Maine Medical Center, which will lead to the closure of a one block section of Congress Street for eight weeks beginning in May.
The city’s contractor, Sargent Corp., is expected to resume work on State Street beginning the week of April 2, the city said Wednesday in a news release. The company must complete the work, which includes the installation of curbing, sidewalks and ramps, traffic signals and final paving and striping, by June 30, though the city expects the work to be done by the end of May.
The city said that lane closures and traffic delays are expected from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and portions of State Street will also be closed during the final paving. Updates will be posted on the city’s website.
City Hall Communications Director Jessica Grondin said that, unlike last summer, there should be at least one lane of traffic open at all times and the contractor is hoping to be finished before the Maine Med project begins, though bad weather could delay that timeline.
“If everything goes well, they’re going to try to get out of there in early May,” Grondin said. “There might end up being a little overlap, but we will do everything we can to minimize additional impacts for residents and motorists. State Street will always have at least one lane open, with many times both open.”
The nearly $8 million project is part of the city’s effort to reduce the amount of raw sewage discharged into Back Cove when it rains. Last summer, a section of State Street was closed to through traffic for several months from August until mid-December as crews installed new storm water and sewer pipes. The city said Wednesday all of the underground work has been completed.
The project also includes the Portland Water District’s water-main replacement within the State Street right of way, the city said.
Parking will be prohibited along some portions of State Street, as work requires. Trash and recycling pick-up will not be affected.
The State Street project will likely overlap for one month — and perhaps two — with the start of Maine Med’s expansion.
The first phase of the five-year, $512 million project was approved by the Planning Board on Tuesday and includes adding two patient care floors on the east tower and three levels of parking on the visitor’s garage.
Maine Med was given permission to close a block of Congress Street from Weymouth to Forest streets from May 7 to June 28 to accommodate a large crane to help with the garage addition. Traffic will be detoured from Weymouth Street, to Park Avenue and to St. John Street.
Drivers will still be able to access local businesses on Congress Street from St. John Street to Forest Street during the detour. And patients and hospital visitors will be able to access the Maine Med’s visitor garage by using the entrance to the employee garage on Gilman Street.
If Congress Street is not reopened by June 29, Maine Med would be face a $10,000-a-day penalty, although any fine would be contingent on the city issuing permits in a timely manner and other events out of Maine Med’s control, including “acts of God, war, fire, flood, acts of a sovereign nation or any state or political subdivision or any department or regulatory agency.”
Randy Billings can be reached at 791-6346 or at: