A second waterline bringing drinking water from Auburn to Lewiston will be installed in the area near Longley Bridge between March 3 and July. Lewiston has a single main bringing water to the city, and it has long been recommended it install a new line. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — The city will kick off construction this weekend on a long-sought second waterline that will bring water from Lake Auburn into Lewiston.

According to Public Works staff, the majority of pipeline infrastructure the city relies on is more than 130 years old, and officials have been exploring options for installing a second pipeline for several years.

During Phase 1, crews will lay a pipeline from Lewiston’s Main Street pump station, down Main Street, under the Longley Bridge into Auburn, and along Court Street and Turner Street to the intersection of Great Falls Plaza.

Site preparation work in the area of Longley Bridge will begin at 7 p.m. Sunday and construction is slated to run through July 2024. Staff said that while the majority of work in high-traffic areas will be done during nighttime hours, construction along Turner Street will occur during the day. At night, traffic on Longley Bridge will be reduced to one lane from Lewiston to Auburn.

Phase 2, planned for spring of 2025, will extend from North River Road to Stetson Road in Auburn.

The Lewiston City Council approved $9.75 million for the project in 2021 using American Rescue Plan Act funding. At the time, officials said the project had been a goal for years and was suggested more than a century ago, when the original main was installed.


Officials said because there is only one main that carries all the city’s drinking water from the lake to the Main Street pump station, “the city has always been at risk of losing its water supply if its only transmission main was ever disrupted for a long period of time.”

The current line brings water from the Lake Auburn Water Treatment Plant through Auburn and under the Androscoggin River into Lewiston.

An image posted by the city of Lewiston shows the Phase 1 construction area of a new waterline bringing water from Lake Auburn into Lewiston. The work, which starts Sunday, will be in the area of Main Street in Lewiston, the Longley Bridge, and Court and Turner streets in Auburn. City of Lewiston

Some of the more recent negotiations with Auburn related to the waterline construction were tied up in larger talks over the two cities’ joint agreements regarding the lake, and an ongoing lawsuit over water quality.

“I’m glad that we were able to work together with the city of Auburn to come up with a plan where we can get this done, and I’m excited this project will be starting this weekend,” Mayor Carl Sheline said Thursday.

For Public Works, the project is a big deal, and has been a long time coming.

The department had a little fun with its announcement of the project Wednesday, stating it was “thrilled” to announce that the waterline construction was to finally begin.

“Okay, so our definition of ‘thrilled’ might not be the same as yours, but this is a great project since redundancy improves our system reliability if mechanical and hydraulic systems are compromised,” the post said. “Let’s make Lewiston’s water system as sturdy as grandma’s meatloaf recipe.”

More details on the project can be found under the Public Works Department website: lewistonmaine.gov/1291/Lewiston-Redundant-Waterline-Project.

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