LISBON — Lisbon voters will be asked Nov. 3 to borrow up $140,000 to fund the town’s portion of the reconstruction of a 1-mile stretch of Route 125, a project that may take up to 15 months to complete.

The roadwork runs from Main Street (Route 125) from Route 196 to Huston Street, past 105 commercial and residential properties. Construction is expected to start by April 2022 and end in July 2023. The Androscoggin Transportation Resource Center — the organization responsible for planning the transportation system for the Lewiston-Auburn area — is covering 80% of the $5.7 million project. The state and town are splitting the remaining 20% of the cost.

In 2018, voters authorized the town to borrow $430,000 to cover the town’s portion of the 1-mile reconstruction project. Since the referendum in November 2018, the overall price tag has increased from $4.3 million to $5.7 million.

Town Manager Diane Barnes said Monday she expects the town could use tax increment financing to cover the additional $140,000 cost, so there would be no increase in taxes.

Ernie Martin, a senior project manager for MaineDOT, said in a previous interview that the department opted to rebuild the 1-mile section of Route 125 because the road needs to be torn up anyway for the town to replace water and sewer lines in the area. He said the reconstruction will fix the road’s poor condition and water drainage issues, repair a failing retaining wall and make the road compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Last year, Lisbon residents voted to allow the Lisbon Water Department to borrow up to $6 million to repair outdated and failing infrastructure. The project will include replacement of mains, taps, services, curbs, valves and hydrants located along Route 125, as well as other upgrades throughout town.

New sidewalks and curbs will be installed in the downtown, for the most part where they are now, Martin said. In one section, the 7-foot-wide sidewalks will be reduced to 4-foot sidewalks to make room for the retaining wall fix.

An average of 3,430 vehicles travel this section of Route 125 daily, according to the Maine Department of Transportation. The construction will involve detours, temporary closures and single-lane traffic. There also could be night work.

The construction could impact at least two dozen businesses along Main Street and the adjacent Union Street, according to Ross Cunningham, the president of Positive Change Lisbon, a local business advocacy group. This first mile of Route 125 encompasses the commercial district in Lisbon Falls but transitions into a residential area and then an increasingly rural part of Lisbon before crossing into Bowdoin and intersecting with U.S. Route 201.

No one from the public spoke about the project during the town council’s public hearing Sept. 1 on the proposed $140,000 bond question.

“It’s something we’ve talked about for years and when it comes to fruition, we’re going to work really hard to make sure everyone understands the process and the best way to serve the public during construction,” Cunningham said.

The project is crucial to Route 125 remaining a vibrant thoroughfare and community, Cunningham said.

Also on the local ballot, town councilor Fern Larochelle, school committee member Ross Cunningham and water commissioner Roger Bickford are incumbents running uncontested for reelection.

 

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