The cost of building a new roundabout near the University of Southern Maine campus in Portland has gone up $660,000 beyond the originally estimate.

Public Works Director Christoper Branch, who was out of the office Tuesday, said in a short email that the increased cost of the project stems from a combination of a year-old estimate and rising construction costs.

The City Council is scheduled to vote Wednesday on a request for more funding.

The project, which now totals $3.94 million, is being paid for through a combination of federal and local dollars. If the council approves, Portland’s share will increase from just over $818,000 to nearly $985,200, according to information provided to councilors.

The Deering’s Corner Roundabout is named after the Deering family, which donated a portion of its farm to the city in 1879 in exchange for a tax abatement. The donated land later became Deering Oaks Park.

The roundabout will be built at the six-way intersection of Falmouth Street and Brighton and Deering avenues.

Once complete, the portion of Brighton Avenue between Falmouth and Bedford streets will be eliminated and Bedford Street will be converted to a two-way street just east of Deering Avenue.

The goal of the project is to improve the flow of traffic, while also improving bicycle and pedestrian safety by slowing traffic and shortening crossing distance.

The project also includes a public art.

Last summer, the city chose Mark Pettegrow’s “Passing the Torch” sculpture for the center of the roundabout. It is expected to feature two bronze flames rising from torches attached to a weathered steel base and including landscaping and lighting. Art was expected to cost $75,000.

City Hall Communications Director Jessica Grondin said $3.94 million price tag of the project includes electrical conduit, lighting, landscaping and base gravel for the art, but no allocation for the sculpture itself.

The sculpture is being funded by the city’s Public Art Committee, which receives an annual allocation of 0.5 percent of the city’s total CIP funding, which is project to be $22.4 million next year.


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