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May 2, 2018

Detours begin May 7 around Maine Med construction project

Courtesy / Maine Medical Center
Courtesy / Maine Medical Center
Work on the East Tower and visitor garage of Maine Medical Center's expansion is under way. A detour begins May 7 and will continue for the next two months to accommodate work on the visitor garage expansion that's expected to be completed by the end of 2018. The East Tower is scheduled to be completed by late 2019.

Maine Medical Center and the city of Portland plan a two-month detour around construction of the hospital's future parking garage, starting on Monday, May 7.

Maine's largest medical center, which is licensed for 637 beds and employing nearly 8,700 people, plans a $512 million expansion, for which the parking garage is just one element.

The garage will provide an additional 225 parking spaces for patients and visitors.

To accommodate construction, Congress Street between Forest and Weymouth streets will be blocked off from May 7 to June 29, according to a joint news release from the Maine Med and the city. The road closure will allow for use of a construction crane.

"This detour will allow Maine Medical Center to safely and efficiently add 225 much-needed parking spaces to serve our patients and guests," said Executive Vice President and COO Jeff Sanders. "We developed the route carefully, in full collaboration with the city and other key stakeholders, and we are committed to re-opening Congress Street as scheduled. We thank the community for its input and understanding as we make this important investment in our collective future."

The parking garage construction and addition of two floors onto the hospital's East Tower comprise Phase 1 of the medical center's $512 million expansion and modernization project. The first phase of the project was approved by the city of Portland Planning Board on March 27, and preparatory work on both the East Tower and visitor parking garage has been underway for several weeks. The visitor garage expansion is expected to be completed by the end of 2018 while the East Tower is scheduled to be completed by late 2019.

The Congress Street detour was developed through multiple meetings with numerous city departments, including traffic, parking, police, fire and planning. To get input on possible closures, the city held meetings with neighborhood associations, residents and local businesses, including the Portland Sea Dogs.

Here's how traffic will be detoured

Courtesy / Maine Medical Center
Courtesy / Maine Medical Center
Map shows patient access points and the detour route during Phase 1 construction activities.

Traffic coming into the city on Congress Street will be directed to take St. John Street to Park Avenue. Drivers can then return to Congress via Weymouth Street, or by taking other routes depending on their destination. Outbound traffic will follow the detour in reverse, taking Weymouth Street or other routes to Park Avenue. Signs and message boards on both I-295 and local streets will help guide drivers.

"We want to stress that area businesses remain open and that we are doing everything possible to make sure they are not adversely impacted during this phase of the project. If any issues arise, we will address them swiftly and fully," said Portland City Manager Jon Jennings. "We absolutely recognize the importance of making this detour work for MMC and the city's residents, businesses and visitors."

Here's how to access visitor parking garage

Hospital patients and guests can access MMC's visitor parking garage via Gilman Street through a special entrance that passes through the MMC employee parking garage. Emergency patients and those who are scheduled for surgery should follow signage to the Emergency Department entrance where complimentary valet parking (cars will be stored at a nearby, off-site parking garage) be available. Details, including a detour map, are available at www.mmc.org/modernization.

Several METRO routes — 1, 9A, 9B and BREEZ — will detour off Congress Street to Park Avenue during the partial street closure. Bus stops along Congress Street between Weymouth and St. John streets will not be accessible during construction. METRO passengers should board buses on Park Avenue during the closure. Schedule delays may occur, as other traffic will also be detoured to Park Avenue. Updates and information will be posted on METRO's website at gpmetrobus.com.

Altogether, Maine Med's $512 million project will create 128 new private patient rooms, add 19 procedure rooms for surgeries and other complex treatments, provide an additional 225 spaces for patient and visitor parking, and consolidate employee parking into one nearby garage that will meet current demand and future growth.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to correct the starting date of the detour, which was misidentified in the original headline. The detour is scheduled to begin on Monday, May 7.

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