A Sargent Corp. worker begins saw cutting along the sidewalks Thursday on Congress Street in Rumford. The machine cuts past Good Karma Health Foods & Cafe, 72 Congress St., which has a sign in the window that reads, “The Big Dig, Rumford Style.” (Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times)

A crew from Sargent Corp. works Thursday on the Hartford Street portion of the downtown project in Rumford. (Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times)

RUMFORD — Much is happening with the downtown project, according to the on-site inspector.

Speaking at the EnvisionRumford meeting Thursday morning, Gary Violette said the piping and testing are pretty much done on River, Hartford and Exchange streets, with the exception of a 12-inch, 300-foot run of water main on Lowell and Hartford, between Congress and River streets.

“And I’ve got some sewer main to test on Hartford,” he said. “Other than that, the piping is complete on those three streets.”

On Exchange and River, the box cutting is complete, which is taking out of all the old gravel down 2 feet, compacting it with the new gravel.

“They also completed the side cutting of the existing pavement that we’re going to be matching into,” Violette said. “They’ve removed that pavement, and now they’re getting ready to put a 2-inch fine grade of gravel that goes on top of everything we’ve done.”

On Friday, July 27, contractor Sargent Corp. is scheduled to begin paving River and Exchange streets. On Monday, July 30, new curbing will be started on River Street.

Violette said there will be 4 inches of new pavement.

“The base layer is 2 1/2 inches,” he said. “They’re just going to put that down for now. The final paving will be toward the end of the project.”

After this, he said, the sidewalk crew will begin work on River Street. That effort will include the painting of fluorescent lines on sidewalks.

“We’re going to be saw cutting the middle of the sidewalk, removing the outside piece of it near the curb, putting our temporary water lines in there and covering that up with gravel,” Violette said. “But we’re going to leave 5 feet of existing sidewalk in place for ease of people walking.”

Workers will then be saw cutting perpendicular to the buildings to get the temporary water service connected.

The estimated $5 million project for downtown improvements includes a $990,000 project by the Rumford Water District, which will reimburse the town for that portion of the project.

The project includes replacement of sewer and storm system under several streets on the Island, along the replacement or placement of sidewalks and other improvements.

Violette said the prject has a “substabntial” completion date of Nov. 15, and a final completion date of Dec. 15.

“You can’t pave after Nov. 15, unless you can get a plant to stay open and the temperatures are agreeable,” he said.

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