ROCKLAND, Maine — Work to install new, larger water lines to properties along Route 1 has switched to a nighttime schedule to reduce traffic backups and delays.
The decision comes after work began again late last week and caused traffic to be backed up well into neighboring Rockport to the north and a mile south into Rockland.
Rick Knowlton, vice president for operations at Maine Water Co., said that work on the Camden Street section of Route 1 in Rockland should be completed by the end of next week.
The Camden Street project is part of a $1.3 million water line replacement project in Rockland, Camden, Rockport and Thomaston. Work began in June along Route 1 in Rockland south of Maverick Street to coordinate with paving to be done by the Maine Department of Transportation. That project was slowed by a very rainy June, Knowlton said.
The project continued through July but the water company decided to hold off the remainder of the work north of Maverick Street until after Labor Day when traffic is less.
Knowlton acknowledged that even after Labor Day, Camden Street is a busy route.
He said the water company was in daily contact with general contractor George Hall & Sons to assess the impact on traffic. The difficulty came when lines had to be cut across the road, reducing the travel lane to one lane.
The water company is sensitive to the frustrations of motorists, he said, and that led to the decision to switch to nighttime work along the commercial strip of Rockland.
Old 6-inch water lines are being replaced with 12-inch lines that will provide better water pressure.