Big bucks for roads

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Among the projects planned, the state this year will invest $1.5 million rehabbing a 1.25-mile stretch of Gorham’s Main Street.

The Maine Department of Transportation has earmarked millions of dollars for multiple roadway construction projects in Gorham, Westbrook and Buxton.

Some local projects, part of a statewide $2.2 billion spending plan through 2018, are threatening to produce traffic delays and detours for thousands of commuters.

In a major project, the state this year will invest an estimated $1.5 million rehabbing a 1.25-mile stretch of Gorham’s Main Street (Route 25) from just north of Johnson Road and running through Gorham Village. Gorham voters in November approved borrowing up to $600,000 as the town’s share of the project. The project includes breaking up the old cement highway sections beneath the tar surface.

“They are currently planning for the project to start in July,” Gorham Town Manager David Cole said Tuesday.

The Portland Water District will likely spend an estimated additional $500,000 to replace century-old water mains in conjunction with the project.

Michelle Clements, spokeswoman for the water district, said Tuesday that the district was to be accepting bids until Wednesday, Feb. 3.

The state estimated the entire Main Street project in Gorham to cost $2.6 million.

The disruption doesn’t fret Angelo Sotiroupolus, owner of the Gorham House of Pizza at the intersection of routes 25 and 114 in the heart of downtown. He feels loyal customers will still find their way to his restaurant.

“I’m not worried about the business,” Sotiroupolus said Tuesday.

In Westbrook this year, the state is planning to spend $811,600 for paving on Cumberland Street near the so-called triangle. That project precedes another for $1.8 million in the 2017-2018 construction seasons for highway safety improvements in the city’s rotary area.

Eric Dudley, public services director and city engineer, said Tuesday the preliminary design calls for a series of traffic signals, with new ones at Warren Avenue and Cumberland Street, Cumberland Street and Harnois Avenue, Harnois and Main, and Main and Cumberland streets. Dudley said the traffic signal at Main and Forest streets will be upgraded.

Dudley said the series of signals is to more “fairly apportion” rights of way.

“It’s not going to be better for everybody,” Dudley said, “but more fair for everyone.”

Westbrook City Councilor Michael Sanphy said a traffic light is needed at the intersection of Warren Avenue and Cumberland Street.

“It’s one of the most conjested areas we have,” Sanphy said.

For the Buxton-Standish area of Route 35 this year, the state has estimated spending $419,126 for highway repaving. In a $7 million project for 2017-2018, stretches of Route 202 in Buxton, Gorham, Hollis and Lyman will be reconstructed.

Other big-ticket highway items include $956,000 for paving 3.5 miles of New Gorham Road beginning with its intersection with Main Street in Westbrook and extending westerly to a point just past the road’s intersection with Johnson Road in Gorham. The project is listed for 2017-2018.

Light paving in Westbrook is scheduled for 2017 on Saco and Stroudwater streets. The state plans $150,000 in 2017-2018 for bicycle/pedestrian rail trail work along the Mountain Division corridor from Route 202 in Windham to Bridge Street in Westbrook.

The state estimated $150,000 for improvements at the Hardy Road intersection with Route 302, where talks have been focused the state constructing a roundabout. But, Dudley said, nothing at that intersection is set in stone and he described the work as a placeholder for engineering work if the process gets to a level for improvements.

Other Gorham big projects on tap include repaving 5.2 miles of Route 25 beginning just south of Wood Road in Gorham and extending toward Standish. The state estimates spending more than $2 million to repave the highway in 2017-2018.

Two miles of South Street (Route 114) in Gorham will get a facelift in 2017-2018 with repaving from south of Waterhouse Road to the intersection of routes 25 and 202 in the heart of Gorham Village. The cost is pegged at $1.6 million.

For 2016, the state is also planning safety improvements at a large culvert on Route 25 north of Gorham’s State Street, costing $845,000.

Tuesday’s early morning traffic advances along Gorham’s Main Street, which will be rehabbed beginning in July.