There is still some work to do, but thankfully this project is nearing the finish line. Today there is no heavy construction, but the contractor will be paving that last little section of West Street, right near Forest Street. Tomorrow they are replacing the “traffic loops” at the intersection of Hill and West Streets, so that the loops can properly detect the presence of traffic and cycle the “green light time” accordingly. However, that work will not start until after 8:05 a.m., so that it does not interfere with the arrival of children at all the schools in the neighborhood.
We were hoping to get all the temporary paving done before the snow flies, and that certainly will happen. (Remember, the Maine Department of Transportation is re-paving West Street next year, a major effort, and that’s when the “permanent” surface will go down.) This project has replaced over 7,000 feet of main, at a cost of over $1.2 million, and in the process it has accomplished three main goals.
- With increased capacity flow, all neighborhoods near the main will have better fire protection, because the Biddeford Fire Department will have more reliable service at hydrants along the route.
- The pipes that have been replaced were about 100 years old, so the probability of a broken main (and no water) has been drastically reduced.
- Last, the capacity of the system, near UNE, will facilitate economic expansion in that part of the city, which is growing very fast.
This is a very large project, so there have been some bumps and delays along the way, as there always are on any construction project. However, City officials have been outstanding in their efforts to stay in touch with us in an attempt to mitigate the impacts on residents. Last week, for example, we met with Biddeford Police Chief Roger Beaupre and Guy Casavant, Publics Works Director. Among the conclusions:
- Maine Water encouraged the City to always make us aware of deficient work by the contractor, so that the situation can be corrected as soon as possible.
- The City made clear that signage and flagging need constant attention, so that things go as smoothly as possible for commuters.
- Maine Water should try to keep residents as informed as possible, using a variety of communications channels.
In addition to Chief Beaupre and Guy Casavant, Maine Water has also received valuable assistance on communications from State Senator David Dutremble, city engineer Tom Milligan, Mayor Alan Casavant, City Councilor Clement Fleurent, and many others, including residents. We encourage people to stay in touch, whether it’s through this web page, Twitter, Facebook, or calling the office at 282-1543.