A project rendering shows a new sidewalk design in downtown Brunswick. The town began construction for the Maine Street project on May 6 and will work on the west side of the road until winter. The construction on the east side of the street is projected to start next spring. Courtesy of Town of Brunswick

Brunswick broke ground this month on a complete overhaul of its Maine Street sidewalks as the summer tourist season looms. The project has some downtown business owners worried about how the construction will affect foot traffic during the key season.

The construction, which officially started May 6 and will last until crews pause work for the winter, has been several years in the making and aims to replace 5,000 square yards of 40-year-old pathways lining Maine Street. The new design will improve accessibility and add bike racks, benches, plants and new trees to the state road, according to the town.

With tourist season pressing closer, town officials are encouraging people who pass through or live in Brunswick to support local businesses as sidewalk construction limits parking and changes access points to some shops on Maine Street.

“It is our primary goal to get the word out far and wide that our downtown businesses are open for business during the construction,” Interim Town Manager Julia Henze said. “We are encouraging our community residents and stakeholders to help support all the downtown businesses by making a concerted effort to buy local.”

Sidewalk project timeline

• April: The town removed some trees on the west side of Maine Street, with remaining trees being monitored by the town arborist for damage as the project continues. New trees will be planted after the project is finished, according to the town.

• May through fall: Construction crews will move block-by-block to replace sidewalks, starting at The Great Impasta and working south towards Pleasant Street. Demolition is already complete between Mill Street and Gilman Avenue, according to the town website, which also stated that work on the Gilman to Lincoln block will start this week.

Advertisement

• Winter: Construction pauses.

• Next spring: Crews begin work on the east side of Maine Street.

Last week, a group of downtown business owners met with town officials, construction crews and the Downtown Business Association to discuss concerns about how the construction could hinder foot traffic and business. Town Hall acknowledged in a news release that construction would be disruptive for shops and that it will work closely with BDA to increase shop promotion.

A second rendering of the sidewalk construction shows a finished pathway on Maine Street. Courtesy of the Town of Brunswick

“I am very encouraged by the construction progress and cooperation with the town and BDA,” said Toby Tarpinian, owner of Morning Glory Natural Foods on Maine Street. “If we all work together, I believe the end result will pay dividends.”

What to expect this summer

The sidewalk setup this summer will involve designated pedestrian walkways, ramps and entry points in construction areas, according to Ian Messier, the chief engineer for Crooker Construction. Flaggers will help direct traffic and pedestrians through the area while crews work, he added.

“Construction is progressing as quickly as possible and being done on a block-by-block basis to minimize disruption,” Messier said.

The town said that as work continues, crews will use parking spaces in front of businesses — a decision that it said will save time and money on the project.

To get around the limited number of parking spaces, the town encouraged workers and shoppers to find alternate parking off of Maine Street. It additionally suggested that people could walk, bike or ride a bus during construction. Parking spaces will be reopened for Bowdoin Alumni Weekend, the town said.

Construction updates and overviews of the plan are available on the town’s website at brunswickme.gov/717/Maine-Street-Streetscape-Project.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.