Portland installs fencing for new Back Cove sewer project


The City of Portland has installed fences along part of the Back Cove Trail for a new sewer separation project that is part of a larger effort to reduce sewage runoff.

The fence will prevent pedestrians, and ultimately cyclists and drivers, from accessing the work site, which runs south along Baxter Boulevard from a point near Cheverus High School, in turning onto Dartmouth Street. When complete, it will shut down another run-off combined sewer and stormwater overflow site in the city, which is dumping polluted water into the bay through runoff.

“We know there is a lot of construction going on in this area right now, but these sewer separation projects are critical infrastructure projects to prevent sewer overflows from heading into Back Cove and Casco Bay, ”city officials said in an update email. “Thank you for your patience!”

City officials said the fence will include gates allowing access to crosswalks on the stairs to Clifton Street, which runs roughly parallel to Baxter Boulevard. More information on traffic control in the area will arrive in the coming weeks.

The sewer projects will help Portland meet federal environmental requirements, protect water quality and improve road conditions through reconstruction, officials said.

Just south of the project, closer to Interstate 295, passers-by noticed a large steel structure taking shape in a previously empty field near Back Cove. This is not a hotel or condominiums, as some have assumed, but the structural support of an excavation to make way for four giant underground storage tanks that can hold 3.5 million gallons of sewage and stormwater. .

A man runs the Back Cove Trail along Baxter Boulevard in Portland on Saturday. The fence is part of a new sewer separation project. Ben McCanna / Team Photographer

This project will also help reduce sewer overflows. It is funded by wastewater charges, which are based on the use of water by homeowners and businesses.

The city held two neighborhood meetings in early 2020 to educate the public about the storage conduit. Construction will begin on Tuesday, with approval already in hand from planning officials and the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. Sargent Corporation, an Old Town engineering firm, was the lowest bidder with $ 27.2 million.

The project involves the installation of a 10 to 12 foot wide box duct along Baxter Boulevard, as well as a new storm sewer system and a redeveloped roadway, with new paving, fresh paint and a redone gutter.

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