BANGOR, Maine — Early next week, construction will commence on a road project to reconfigure the traffic pattern on Main Street near the Bangor Waterfront.
City Engineer Jim Ring said the project, which has been in the works for years, is expected to wrap up in mid-August before the American Folk Festival.
“This project is one of the recommendations of a comprehensive traffic plan associated with the waterfront area,” Ring said. “The city has seen a steady increase of pedestrian traffic in that area, so this project would make things safer both for motorists and pedestrians.”
The $1.1 million project will be funded largely by the Maine Department of Transportation. The goal is to divert vehicle traffic away from Railroad and Summer streets, which connect to Bangor’s continually evolving waterfront. The changes will be especially helpful to large trucks whose drivers now have to make a sharp right turn onto Railroad Street followed by an immediate sharp left onto Summer Street in order to bypass downtown Bangor.
The project largely involves the reconstruction of a small section of Cedar Street, along with a portion of Main Street and Summer Street, but also includes new traffic signals, storm drains, sidewalks and granite curbing.
Lou Silver Inc. of Veazie was awarded the construction contract earlier this spring.
Ring said the roadwork likely would result in some lane closures on Main Street while the construction is going on. Summer Street also is expected to be closed off for a short time from Railroad to Cedar.
To accommodate the changes, the state negotiated a buyout of the property at the corner of Main Street and Cedar Street that houses Smith Ceramic Studio. That business has relocated to the former Thompson Printing building in Brewer, where the owners are expected to expand.
Once the changes are in place, traffic no longer will be allowed to go from Railroad Street to Summer Street. Instead, vehicles will have to take Cedar Street to get to Summer Street near the Bangor police station.
To accommodate the increased traffic there, the right turn from Main Street to Cedar Street will be much more gradual, as opposed to the 90-degree turn that exists now. Cedar Street also will feature more traffic lanes on that section between Main and Summer streets in order to handle the increased volume.
Summer Street effectively becomes a dead end before Railroad Street. Railroad Street, which directs traffic toward the waterfront before bending to the left and running parallel to the Penobscot River, will not be changed.