2018-02-15 / Front Page

Lincoln Street intersection under microscope

By Grant McPherson
Staff Writer


The city of Biddeford signed a joint development agreement with LHL Holdings, LLC in September 2017. In addition to the streetscape work the city will also provide a credit enhancement of $150,000 per year for five years, given that LHL Holdings, LLC meets the required deadlines of the project. (Grant McPherson photo) The city of Biddeford signed a joint development agreement with LHL Holdings, LLC in September 2017. In addition to the streetscape work the city will also provide a credit enhancement of $150,000 per year for five years, given that LHL Holdings, LLC meets the required deadlines of the project. (Grant McPherson photo) BIDDEFORD – The city is expected to begin construction on Lincoln Street this spring as part of its joint development agreement with LHL Holdings, LLC, developers of the new Lincoln Mill project.

Under the agreement, the city promised to repair the retaining wall along Lincoln Street, make road improvements on Main and Lincoln streets, modify the intersection of Lincoln, Adams and Main streets and rebuild the Lincoln Street sidewalks. The city held a public meeting Thursday, Feb. 8 to discuss the upcoming work, a requirement for all projects being funded in part by the Maine Department of Transportation. Six members of the public attended the meeting. City Engineer Tom Mulligan said the city has budgeted $1.2 million for the total cost of the project with the city contributing $650,000 out of the Route 111 – Mill Redevelopment Tax Increment Financing District and the rest being matches by Maine Department of Transportation’s Business Partnership Initiative.


The city will put a bid out for work on the Lincoln, Adams and Main streets intersection as part of the joint development agreement it signed with LHL Holdings, LLC last fall. With help from the Maine Department of Transportation and the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System, the city will explore stop signs and other methods to slow down traffic at the intersection. Work will also include repairing Lincoln Street and its sidewalks as well as placing the utilities in front of the Lincoln Mill underground and removing the telephone poles. (Grant McPherson photo) The city will put a bid out for work on the Lincoln, Adams and Main streets intersection as part of the joint development agreement it signed with LHL Holdings, LLC last fall. With help from the Maine Department of Transportation and the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System, the city will explore stop signs and other methods to slow down traffic at the intersection. Work will also include repairing Lincoln Street and its sidewalks as well as placing the utilities in front of the Lincoln Mill underground and removing the telephone poles. (Grant McPherson photo) Phase one of the project includes repairing the wall in front of Lincoln Mill, placing the electrical lines under the east sidewalk and repaving the sidewalk. Mulligan said he hopes to go to bid on that project by mid-February and expects to have it completed by the beginning of May. Phase two will begin as soon as phase one is finished and consists of repairing the west sidewalk, repaving Lincoln Street and changing the Lincoln, Adams and Main streets intersection and will be put to bid by early March. Mulligan said phase two should be completed by the end of the summer. Proposed changes to the intersection include bump outs, crosswalks and a four-way stop, though nothing is finalized yet.

Mulligan said placing the utilities underground will be the biggest challenge of the work due to the number of different companies in the vicinity.

“The city decided to put the utilities underground for a nice streetscape,” he said. “Central Maine Power, FairPoint, Spectrum, a lot of utilities there, they all want separate utility banks. Those are the rules I guess. Nonetheless it means a lot of underground facilities have to be installed and transferred over. I envision it to be many months worth’s of work.”

The work on the intersection will continue what the city has already put in place, Mulligan said.

“A portion of Main Street has already been done with bump outs and pedestrian friendly crosswalks to try to keep traffic down as much as we can,” he said. “We noticed speeds were significant through that corridor. From individual observation, what we’ve done so far has slowed it down a little. It’s still not a very pedestrian friendly corner.”

Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System, which provides planning and assistance to 18 communities surrounding greater Portland, will contribute $114,500 to the intersection work.

Jeff Nemers, the recently appointed director of public works asked what kind of an impact the Lincoln Street work would have on traffic. Mulligan said there will likely be alternating one-way traffic when the sidewalk is being repaired but the road won’t be closed. However, it may have to be closed during the street repaving, but that shouldn’t take more than a day, Mulligan said. If the road is closed, the city has asked that it be on either a Monday or a Tuesday.

The intersection work could include cobblestone circles in the middle, something that City Manager Jim Bennett said would help drivers slow down.

“We’ve received complaints of cars speeding and not stopping for pedestrians in crosswalks,” Bennett said. “The community as a whole has been identified by the state as one with a higher percentage of pedestrian and bike accidents.”

Mulligan said stop signs are being considered but there could be problems with a cobblestone circle in the middle of the intersection. Stop signs could be placed at either all four corners, or just Lincoln and Adams streets.

“We’re discussing that with MDOT now,” he said. “One of the options was an all-way stop or a two-way stop between Lincoln and Adams. It depends on MDOT requirements. We are looking at some sort of intersection treatment to slow traffic down from barreling through. We looked at circles and MDOT came back to say that the circles in there shouldn’t be so small that people think it’s a roundabout, which would cause unsafe conditions coming up Main Street. Everyone likes the idea of circles, if it works.”

The wall in front of the Lincoln Mill is also a potential safety hazard and Mulligan hopes contractors can repair it without having to replace it.

“It’s been there 100 plus years,” he said. “It hasn’t fallen yet. A couple washouts need to be repaired and the wall needs to be straightened. There shouldn’t be an issue going forward with the approach we selected to take and hopefully we hit it.”

Contact Staff Writer Grant McPherson at news@inthecourier.com

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