The University of Maine System board of trustees is expected to vote Monday to help pave the wave for Portland’s first roundabout.

The board is being asked to approve the transfer of land from the University of Southern Maine campus to the city to allow for construction of a roundabout at what is now a six-way intersection at the edge of the USM campus and next to the University of Maine School of Law.

The single-lane roundabout will be constructed at the intersection of Brighton Avenue, Deering Avenue and Falmouth Street starting in 2019. Construction of the roundabout will cost about $3 million and be primarily financed through federal highway funding. The city of Portland will contribute $717,205.

While there are now more than 20 roundabouts around the state, none have been built in Portland. Roundabouts are circular, one-way streets that move traffic through intersections while eliminating the need for traffic lights. Unlike larger high-speed rotaries, roundabouts are intended to keep traffic moving steadily, but slowly.

The city has been planning for the roundabout for several years.

A second roundabout at the intersection of Deering Avenue and Bedford Street had been considered but has been dropped because of the costs.

The University of Maine System intends to transfer to the city of Portland 0.12 acres of land next to the law school building and at the corner of Falmouth Street and Brighton Avenue Extension. The slivers of land, now sidewalks and green space, will allow for the expansion of the intersection.

USM will also get new land as a result of the project, however.

The southern end of Brighton Avenue, which currently runs through the Portland campus, will be cut off. The section of Brighton Avenue between the new roundabout and Bedford Street will be eliminated and converted into green space. The university will lose a 0.2-acre, 26-space parking lot along that section of Brighton Avenue, although the elimination of that section of roadway will add 0.5 acres to the campus.

“In general, the transfer of property and subsequent construction of the roundabout will improve the flow of traffic and aesthetic appeal of the intersection entering the USM Portland Campus and provide the campus additional space for future needs,” according to a memo to the board of trustees.

The second roundabout planned for the Bedford Street intersection was dropped due to cost overruns, City Manager Jon Jennings said during a Portland City Council meeting last month. At that meeting, the council approved elements of the same land transfer agreement trustees will vote on Monday.

The Maine Department of Transportation is currently in the right-of-way acquisition phase of the roundabout project, according to Director of Public Works Chris Branch.

Private property surrounding the intersection will need to be purchased before the construction of the roundabout begins, although the land is not developed and lies at the edge of the current right-of-way.

Branch said the Department of Transportation does not negotiate about the taking of property for such a right-of-way project, but it will negotiate on the value of the property with the owners. These negotiations with individual property owners have been “mostly taken care of,” said Branch.

The owners of the two private properties nearest to the intersection could not be reached for comment.

Cara DeRose can be contacted at 7916363 or at:

[email protected]

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