Plan problem delays PI post office upgrade

Posted Aug. 13, 2010, at 12:49 a.m.
Last modified Jan. 29, 2011, at 11:53 a.m.

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — An upgrade at the Presque Isle post office on Second Street that is expected to make wheelchair access easier, especially during winter months, was delayed temporarily after crews performing the demolition of the front steps discovered a discrepancy in what was indicated in the original site plan.

The project, which began in July, initially was scheduled to end later this month, but now won’t be completed until late September to allow officials to come up with design changes. Meanwhile, a temporary wooden ramp has been built to allow access.

The project “was put on hold for three weeks to review existing foundation conditions after demolition. When we excavated the old ramp and staircase, we encountered site conditions that weren’t on the original plans from 1932,” said Tom Rizzo, spokesman for Northern New England District of the U.S. Postal Service, which covers Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Rizzo said while it isn’t unusual to encounter variances to the original plans during the demolition phase, design changes were necessary to complete the job.

“A Maine company, Ganneston Construction of Augusta, is performing the work,” Rizzo said.

After demolition of the existing ramp and lower stairs, the work will include “construction of a new ramp with new handrails, reconstruction of the lower stairs with handrails and reconstruction of the handrails of the upper stairs,” said Rizzo.

The new ramp also will be built “with a new snow-melt system, which is better for the environment because it greatly reduces the use of salt or other ice-melt chemicals and as a result costs much less to maintain while providing safer walking conditions in below-freezing temperatures,” he said.

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