BANGOR, Maine — The drenching rains of the past two weeks slowed the pace of construction a bit as the Bangor Waterfront undergoes further development with new, lighted walking trails and a reoriented, renovated amphitheater and concert facility.
“The weather has not been cooperative with all the rain we’ve gotten, but we’ve been managing pretty well,” said Randy Gardner, owner of Gardner Construction Enterprises, the Bangor company which was awarded the bid for the concert construction. “We may be a couple days behind where we’d like to be, but it shouldn’t drastically change our timetable.”
Construction for both the amphitheater grounds and the paved, lighted trails — which together total just over $1 million in cost — began Oct. 8.
“Their goal is to have this pretty well completed by the end of the year,” said Dana Wardwell, Bangor’s public works director. “Right now they’re creating an elevated, sloped viewing area to look at the stage.”
Maine Earth of Hermon is handling the $390,307 pathway system stretching from the concert grounds to Hollywood Casino.
“There will be new, paved walkways and new lighting going all the way around,” said Chad Davis, Maine Earth’s project manager. “We’re also putting two new walkways in, one that goes around the back and one around the front of the amphitheater over there.”
Davis said 36 lamppost lights will be installed.
“Hopefully we’ll be paving a week from Monday,” Davis said. “Lights will arrive in December, so we should be well done by May.”
Gardner Construction and seven other companies initially overbid for the concert facility project, which the city of Bangor budgeted $650,000 for.
After meeting with city officials, Gardner downscaled the project somewhat and revised its bid to $648,015, the Bangor City Council accepted the bid, and construction began two weeks later.
“We’ve moved about 10,000 yards of earth so far,” said Gardner, who pointed out his company has been involved in two previous phases of the ongoing waterfront development effort, including removal of coal tar from the Penobscot River.
“All that brickwork down there near Main Street was done by my son-in-law’s company, Hopkins Landscaping,” said Gardner. “And we did a lot of the earthwork on the finishing phase 3. We used rock from our Union Street quarry in all three phases of work we’ve been involved in.”
Gardner said the current project will likely require about 5,000 cubic yards of rock.
“Previously, we’ve used almost 20,000 cubic yards of rock, and I can’t even imagine how many cubic yards we used just for the coal tar project,” he said.
Current work involves the creation of an angled berm which will serve as the high end of the seating area layout for the amphitheater project.
“The long, flat slope you see there will be the audience seating area. That will be about 320 feet long and 150 feet wide,” Gardner said.
Excavators are digging tons of earth to use for the project and any unused soil will be stockpiled for city use. Gardner and Maine Earth are currently using about two dozen workers total on the two projects. In a few days, the project’s emphasis will switch to pipe and grading equipment as catch basins and drainage pipes are installed.
Drainage is a factor in the design for the path system too, as five “rain gardens” will be installed to better facilitate stormwater drainage.
“They’re all different sized, but the basic way to describe them is they’re 6-inch depressions in the ground where we install a filtration system to filter rainwater and decrease erosion,” said Davis. “I think one of the larger ones is 336 square feet.”
The rain garden employs a filtration system using a base of crushed rock and sand upon which various perennial and hardy plants and shrubbery sit.
Both Davis and Gardner said they take extra pride to be involved in a local civic project such as this.
“Absolutely. I’m very proud to be involved with this,” he said. “My kids and grandkids will be going there [concert venue] and probably my grandkids, too, and I’m absolutely proud to have my name associated with it.”