FARMINGTON — Selectmen Tuesday night, Nov. 9, authorized adding up to $100,000 to the first phase of the High Street renovation project.

E.L. Vining and Sons of Farmington is doing the Phase I work. Their $927,729 bid was the lower of two for the project.

The project includes improving parking, creating a bus lane in front of the University of Maine-Farmington gym, plus installing speed tables and streetlights. The street would then be similar to Front Street which was redone a few years ago.

Originally, Phase I included work from Broadway/Perham Street to South Street. Phase II would have gone from South Street to the Farmington Falls Road/U.S. Route 2. It was thought the Maine Department of Transportation Municipal Partnership Initiative would pay for half of each phase.

The DOT cap for matching funds on the project is $500,000 for the entire street, Philip Hutchins, department head of Farmington Public Works, said Tuesday. The town would be paying for most of Phase II, he noted.

Add 580 feet of bituminous curbing sidewalk and six new streetlights tin Phase I, from South Street to Lake Ave, and include the second section of road paving in the town’s annual paving plan, Hutchins suggested. “The best estimate for the addition to the first phase would be $80,000 to $100,000,” Hutchins said.

The original Phase I from Broadway to South St. would have 2,300 feet of granite curbing at a cost of $50 per foot, he wrote in a later email. “The additional 580 feet we plan to transition to bituminous curbing at a cost of $11 per foot.” Without any further MDOT contributions, this may be the only option in order to finish the project, he wrote.

“The second phase hasn’t been engineered yet,” he noted Tuesday. “I think it should have been one big phase.”

Is there time to do (the added work) this year, Selectman Chairman Matthew Smith asked.

The outside of the road will be held off, Hutchins said.

“It is too late in the season and may complicate sidewalk snow removal,” he noted. “The inside roadway construction will be completed and paved this fall to get the traffic flowing again before winter.”

By holding off on the sidewalk until next year the town will have a better product, Hutchins said.

Sidewalks from about Maple Ave to the Falls Road are in really good shape but the roadway from Lake Ave needs work, Hutchins said. “We don’t plan to reconstruct the sidewalks all the way.”

Paving that section of High Street as part of the town’s annual paving plan would cost about $200,000, he said. The town can get a 19-mil base for about $70 per ton; it was charged $167 per ton for the same material in the Phase I bid, Hutchins said.

“You’re looking for a change order versus putting the whole thing back out to bid,” Smith asked.

“Yes,” Hutchins replied.

“We can go twice as far with the same money and still have some left over,” Smith said.

“The construction-materials market prices and availability are extremely unstable. If we can lock-in the additional work this season by a simple change order, E.L. Vining will be able to get supplies ordered now to prepare for the spring work,” Hutchins explained in his email. “Rather than putting the additional work into a new bid process, this will save time and money.”

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