Rumford downtown project contract approval on tap

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Rumford Town Manager Linda-Jean Briggs said the downtown project is slated to begin between April 15 and May 1, with completion by December 2018. (Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times)

RUMFORD — When the Board of Selectmen meet Thursday, they’re expected to approve the contract for the downtown Island project with Sargent Corp. of Bangor.

Town Manager Linda-Jean Briggs said at a recent board meeting that the project likely would begin between April 15 and May 1 and to be completed by December 2018.

The estimated $4 million project for downtown infrastructure improvements was postponed last summer when it became too late in the construction season to begin.

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The project includes replacement of sewer and storm systems under several streets on the Island, along with the replacement of sidewalks and other improvements. The town is also seeking a community development block grant for the infrastructure improvements.

Briggs said she’s asked engineer Rick Dunton of Main-Land Development Consultants in Livermore Falls to be present at Thursday’s meeting, as well as clerk of the works Gary Violette, who will be a contracted employee for Main-Land during the project.

She added that Violette is a “well-respected inspector,” whose recent projects include inspecting the construction of Hammond Street in Bangor.

Board Chairman Chris Brennick asked if there was a way for business owners to be informed of updates on the construction project.

Briggs said Violette would be responsible for working with business owners and residents during the project.

“Prior to April 15, we’ll have a number of sessions to involve the public,” she noted.

Selectman Peter Chase asked about downtown traffic patterns during the project.

Briggs said, “That could change on a regular basis, depending on what kind of work they’re doing. But there is traffic management allotted for, in the contract.”

She said updates during the project would be displayed on the town website, rumfordme.org, and on the town’s Facebook page.

Thursday’s meeting will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the Rumford Falls Auditorium.

Earlier, Briggs elaborated about the downtown project.

“Once we get a project timeline, we’ll get that out to the public and meet with the downtown business owners and residents, making sure they understand what we’re going to do,” she said. “As we get progress into the project, we’ll be able to make you aware of when your door is likely to be obstructed.”

Briggs said what prompted the project was the Maine Department of Environmental Protection, which said, “You’ve got to find a way to minimize your storm water, or your untreated rain water going through that (sewer) plant. The plant can’t handle the amount of storm water that’s going through it.”

Briggs added, “Sewers are not sexy, but we have a hundred-year-old plant, and it’s all clay, and we’re having breaks in that infrastructure. And when you have one section that breaks, it’s very difficult to fix it without another one down the line breaking. And that’s what we’re facing. Our intermittent repairs are costing us an awful lot more money that they should.” 

Briggs said the contract by the Rumford Water District with Poland Spring is going to mean an influx of money for the Water District.

“They are going to be digging up the roads,” she said. “What a shame, as a town, if we don’t go in, while the road is dug up, and change out the sewer pipes. But we have to prepare for that, and we haven’t. There’s no significant capital account for the sewers. And I’m telling you, we’re spending tens of thousands of dollars when we’re opening up those roads.”

bfarrin@sunmediagroup.net

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