LEWISTON — Work on Russell Street will get busier next week with installation of new power lines and poles, and storm-sewer pipe.

Plans call for widening the length of the street, essentially adding a lane between the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge and Robinson Gardens. Crews hired by the Maine Department of Transportation began work in May, and the project is scheduled to continue into 2010.

Crews from Central Maine Power Co. are scheduled to install new power lines and utility poles on the north side of the street beginning Monday, forcing the closure of one lane of westbound Russell Street.

Crews from Gendron and Gendron will install storm-sewer pipe on the south side of the street, closing one lane of the eastbound side.

Two of the four lanes will be closed, city engineer Al Richards said. “The entire road will be down to one lane in either direction. It will be open, but it could be slower.”

Russell Street feeds directly onto the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Bridge, across the river and into the Auburn Mall and retail area. It’s a four-lane road that forces traffic to stop behind anyone turning into Central Avenue, Bardwell Street or College Road.

A new median will take up most of that new lane, except in front of the busiest intersections. The state is adding a dedicated turn lane there. 

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