May 26, 2018
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Demolition of Orono building to slow downtown access

By Jessica Bloch, BDN Staff

ORONO, Maine — A downtown building that had extensive damage in a fire last month is scheduled to be demolished Tuesday, Aug. 4.

Although no roads will be closed, it is expected the work to bring down the Katahdin Building at 6 Bennoch Road will cause traffic tie-ups because of restricted access downtown. The building will be demolished between 8 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Town officials recommend those traveling to or from the University of Maine campus use the Stillwater Avenue exit from Interstate 95.

Traffic traveling north on Main Street to the UMaine campus will be routed down Pine Street and then to Oak Street. Those trying to get to Bennoch Road or Forest Avenue are encouraged to use Stillwater Avenue.

The nearly 180-year old Katahdin building, which was gutted on June 9 by what was determined to be an electrical fire, was owned by Robert Dudley of Winterport. It previously had housed a tavern, Orono’s first public library, a bank and offices before the building and an addition were converted into 18 apartment units, many of which were occupied by University of Maine students. The fire displaced 26 tenants, none of whom was injured, along with several pets.

Elsewhere in town, a section of road beyond 365 Forest Ave. will be closed to all but pedestrians starting at 6 a.m. on Aug. 4 due to reconstruction of six culverts in a boggy area. The section of road will be closed to all traffic.

The Maine Department of Transportation is expecting the road to be open by 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 5, but an e-mail memo from Town Manager Cathy Conlow stated that the Maine DOT has posted the road until Aug. 7 in case it needs more time to complete the work.

The culvert work is necessary, according to the e-mail, after this summer’s rains put the road in danger of a washout.

“It is not the perfect solution but it seems the best given the situation,” Conlow wrote.

Emergency response for this area will be handled by Bangor police, fire and ambulance.

Travelers between Orono and Bangor are encouraged to find alternate ways to drive into town and officials are urging travelers leave extra time.

For more information, call Dale Doughty of the Maine DOT at 941-4500.


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