BIDDEFORD — Construction on Elm Street, or U.S. Route 1, in Biddeford is scheduled to come to a close this week, but not before causing potentially significant traffic delays.

Guy Casavant, the city’s public works director, said Monday that by today, Maine Department of Transportation crews should finish raising manhole covers and catch basins on Elm Street in preparation of the paving work that will be done there later this week. While crews ready the road for paving, southbound traffic will flow normally, he said, but northbound traffic will be rerouted onto South, Jefferson and Main streets.

Then, on Wednesday and Thursday, MaineDOT crews are scheduled to begin paving Elm Street from where it intersects Cherry Lane to where it intersects Diamond and Gooch streets, he said. While the paving is being done, Casavant said northbound traffic will be diverted entirely around the nearly 4,000-foot stretch of Elm Street, which runs through downtown Biddeford.

“When they start paving … they will be allowing one lane of traffic on Route 1 southbound and detouring northbound traffic to Union Street, and then to Alfred Street, Main Street, up York Hill and into Saco,” he said.

Casavant said MaineDOT will work with Saco police to ensure traffic moves as quickly as possible up York Hill, which often becomes congested during peak traffic hours and when trains cross over Saco Island. Casavant said police officers will be directing traffic at the intersection of Main and Water streets in Saco as opposed to keeping the traffic signal running there.

“It is anticipated the delays going up York Hill will not be as bad with the traffic light off at Pepperell Square,” said Casavant. “That is why the DOT has requested the traffic light be turned off and the intersection manned with a police officer.”

In a Facebook post Monday, the Saco Police Department warned drivers to expect “extra heavy downtown traffic” on Wednesday and Thursday.

“Expect longer than usual delays and seek an alternative route if possible,” the post reads.

Casavant said the paving will only occur if the weather allows and is anticipated to last just two days, with work being done during the day. The completion of the project will mark the end of construction on Elm Street for the foreseeable future, he said, but in August, the state plans to begin paving Adams and Jefferson streets. Then, by the fall or early next year, MaineDOT crews will begin construction on Main Street in Biddeford.

Additionally, Casavant said there is currently construction being done on West Street and Alfred Street, or Route 111, and the Somesville Bridge, which closed in May, is being replaced and won’t reopen until next spring.

— Staff Writer Angelo J. Verzoni can be contacted at 282-1535, ext. 329 or [email protected]

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