RESIDENTS EXAMINE PLANS for reconstruction of North Street this summer following a presentation on the project Wednesday at City Hall. City officials and Jennifer Claster, a landscape architect for Wright-Pierce, said now is the time to hear concerns from residents and learn details about this portion of the road before plans are finalized.

RESIDENTS EXAMINE PLANS for reconstruction of North Street this summer following a presentation on the project Wednesday at City Hall. City officials and Jennifer Claster, a landscape architect for Wright-Pierce, said now is the time to hear concerns from residents and learn details about this portion of the road before plans are finalized.

BATH

JENNIFER CLASTER

JENNIFER CLASTER

City officials and a landscape architect with Wright-Pierce unveiled plans for reconstruction of North Street this summer at an hour-long meeting Wednesday night in the basement of City Hall.

The first phase of the project will stretch from the Five Corners intersection (where North, Oak Grove and Lincoln streets and Congress Avenue come together) to High Street. A second phase, anticipated to be completed in 2016, would continue the reconstruction further to Washington Street.

Peter Owen, Bath’s public works director, said now is the time to hear feedback from residents and learn about subsurface issues specific to their properties. There were at least 40 residents attending the meeting.

Wright-Pierce landscape architect Jennifer Claster said North Street is part of a city-designated primary bike route between the Sagadahoc Bridge and West Bath, and also part of the interim onroad route for the East Coast Greenway and U.S. Bike Route 1A. This route will connect to a local and more regional trail that will link the Androscoggin River Bicycle and Pedestrian Path to the Kennebec River.

The right of way for the road is fairly wide at 66 feet, which drops down closer to 40 feet at High Street. There is generally 40-48 feet of pavement between the front of the curbs, with on-street parking on both sides of the streets. The pavement conditions are not great, as cracking and the delamination are occurring. There are also a number of utilities, and opportunities will be looked at for separating sewer lines from the storm water collection system.

The project has multiple goals, Claster said, including improving pavement conditions, trying to reduce the amount of pavement so there are more lawn areas that can help absorb storm water keeping it out of the storm water system, maintain some on-street parking, provide a continuous sidewalk addressing ADA guidelines for handicap accessibility, provide some infrastructure for pedestrian and bicycles that could be replicated in other part of the city, relocate overhead utility poles, and create a cozy feeling for motorists as they drive into this neighborhood, primarily by slowing traffic. They will be looking at lighting to replace existing Central Maine Power fixtures with more energy efficient fixtures. There will also be an area outside of the street where natural gas will likely go in three or four years.

Wright-Pierce and the city looked at bicycle lanes, but are considering shared lane markings so the bicycles would share the lane with cars. On the north side of the street there is a fivefoot sidewalk and next to it, a two-foot grass area that accommodates a number of the existing poles, and then a curb. Next to the curb there will typically be onstreet parking, trees short enough to be planted close to existing overhead power lines, and then two shared lanes, so that cars and bicycles are sharing the same lane. There are good existing guidelines for how to use these shared lanes, Claster said. At least one member of the city’s bicycle and pedestrian committee spoke in support of the plan Wednesday.

In general, on-street parking and trees will be on alternating sides of the street, Claster said. There are no plans to change the existing right of way or take any property from property owners.

Residents were interested in discussion about traffic calming measures planned. By narrowing the road and adding trees, traffic should be slowed, Owen said. There was a chime of “no” when someone asked about speed bumps.

Another concern is visibility issues, and how it may or may not be impacted by the project. A traffic engineer looked at this and found some issues. He recommended creating a longer bulb-out on the south side approaching the High Street intersection. Cars will be able to drive further into the intersection to the stop sign than currently.

A pre-construction meeting for the public will likely take place in June. Owen said the city plans to go out to bid in May and start construction in mid-June. He estimates construction would be done by the end of September. The road would not be closed during construction.

More project and contact information can be found and will be posted online at www.cityofbath.com/northstreet.

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