December 16, 2017
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School, water main projects win Ellsworth council’s OK

By Rich Hewitt, BDN Staff

ELLSWORTH, Maine — City councilors on Monday approved funds for preliminary work on two projects.

The council approved $47,250 to design Pond Avenue from Shore Road to the new entrance to the new K-8 school that is under construction. It also approved an additional $40,000 for design work on the planned extension of the municipal water main along Route 1A.

City Manager Michelle Beal explained that the proposal from Woodard & Curran for the design work was higher than the $30,000 originally anticipated because the project will have to include the replacement of water lines along that section of road.

“We had a major leak on that road today, and we’re going to need to replace the water lines,” Beal said.

Councilor Stephen Beathem noted that the road would be engineered as a two-way road with two 10-foot travel lanes, even though there is some discussion about making the road one-way.

“Some of the residents have asked that it be made one-way, and the road committee is discussing that,” he said. “Even if it’s one-way, it has to be engineered as two-way.”

Beal said the road would have to be the same width either way to allow for larger vehicles traveling to the school and for parked vehicles along the side of the road.

In a related matter, the council authorized a $7 million bond anticipation note for the school project. The city is borrowing money for the construction project until the new regional school unit is established this summer. At that point, the new school district will bond the full amount of the project, estimated at $37 million.

The $40,000 for the water main project is an addition to design funds authorized last month for the project. According to Beal, councilors approved $170,000 for the design and bid portion of the project. On Monday, the councilors authorized expenditure of up to $40,000 for survey work, probes and permitting for the estimated $2.8 million project.

A portion of that project — about $1 million — will be paid for by the state Department of Environmental Protection because it will bring city water lines to an area where the groundwater was contaminated years ago by a former oil transport facility. The project also will bring water to the city’s industrial park, where there have been problems finding potable water on some lots.

The project will be done in conjunction with the state Department of Transportation, which plans to begin rebuilding a section of Route 1A later this year.


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