The planned month-long closure of a section of Marginal Way in Portland won’t significantly affect local businesses, whose employees say the closure related to work on the city’s Back Cove sewer separation project is likely to be more nuisance than serious problem.

Starting June 22, the section of Marginal Way from Franklin to Diamond streets in Portland will be closed to traffic for about four weeks.

Bob Flagg and Geeta Ramani walk along Baxter Boulevard past the sewer pipes lying alongside it in June 2021. The sewer project’s next phase involves closing part of Marginal Way for four weeks. Carl D. Walsh/Staff Photographer

“If it’s good for the city, then it’s good for us,” said Colton McAlister, assistant manager at Play It Again Sports, 315 Marginal Way. McAlister said the project could affect traffic coming to the store, but he doesn’t expect it to be significant.

The sewer separation project will include installation of a 12-inch force main, or pressurized wastewater pipe, from the intersection with Franklin to a connecting point at Diamond Street, according to a city news release Tuesday.

The force main is what will be used to empty the new wastewater storage tanks being installed under the Preble Street soccer field and carry the contents to the East End Wastewater Treatment Plant.

The work is part of a larger ongoing sewer separation project to keep untreated storm- and wastewater from flowing into Back Cove and the ocean during heavy rains.


Plans call for the work zone to shift on a daily basis, allowing traffic to access businesses using Fox Street to reach Diamond Street, or using Fox Street or Cove Street to loop around the work site, said Jessica Grondin, the city’s spokesperson, in an email.

“We just found out yesterday, but we are planning to stay open,” said Noel Hall, a manager at Arlberg Ski & Surf at 283 Marginal Way. Hall said customers and delivery truck drivers can still access the store from a nearby lot on Diamond Street.

Plans call for the work zone to move as the pipe is installed, the city said. However, the contractor will have to work across driveway entrances, as well as across Diamond Street, requiring the closure of access points and intersections at times, the city said.

Message boards and a traffic control plan will be used to reroute motorists, the city said. Motorists are encouraged to use Fox Street to detour around the project and should seek alternate routes. Traffic controls will be in place for roughly four weeks, Portland officials said.

Nick Lorenzo, an employee at World Gym, 265 Marginal Way, said club members are aware of the project, and World Gym has posted signs explaining its impacts on the club. Lorenzo said World Gym’s Marginal Way entrance will be closed, but members can still reach the gym by using North Boyd or Diamond streets.

“It’s going to be a little inconvenient,” he said.


The closures are part of the city’s Back Cove South Storage Facility Project and are needed to connect existing pipes at the intersection of Marginal and Franklin streets to the new wastewater storage tanks under the Preble Street playing fields, according to the city.

It is part of the city’s agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to eliminate the flow of untreated sewage and stormwater discharged into Back Cove when the treatment system becomes overloaded during heavy rains.

The Department of Public Works has been coordinating with the prime contractor, Sargent Corp., and the Maine Department of Transportation on a traffic control plan to minimize the traffic impacts, according to a release.

Related graphics and project updates are available on the city’s public works website.

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