MBTA 2014 Fall PDH Tour visits three game changing projects in Portland
Nearly 40 MBTA members and friends gathered in the early morning hours at the Maine Turnpike Authority on October 3 for what has become an autumn tradition for the organization – the Fall PDH Tour. This year’s tour, the third in recent years, was the most ambitious yet with visits to three projects in Portland.
“With all that is happening in Portland, we thought it would be the perfect place to start,” said Conrad Welzel of the Maine Turnpike. Welzel led the committee that organized the educational tour and was assisted by Kathi Earli of the City of Portland. “Every project was so close to each other it made the bus tour easy, and each of these projects required several different disciplines of the engineering field to work very closely together.” The three projects toured were:
• Forefront at Thompson Point
A public-private partnership of the city of Portland, MaineDOT, the Northern New England Passenger Rail Authority, the U.S. Department of Transportation and Thompson Point Development Company. When the $100 million project is complete, the former industrial site will be home to a mixed use development that will include office buildings, restaurants, a hotel, a sports arena, an outdoor concert site, parking garages, condominiums, and a sports medicine lab, among other facilities.
• The International Marine Terminal
City officials and the MaineDOT recently broke ground on work to expand the container terminal and add a direct freight rail link at this site. The terminal, a former mixed use terminal that once served as home for an international ferry service to Canada, has been transformed to a vibrant shipping center, thanks to the collaborative efforts of MaineDOT, the Maine Port Authority and the city of Portland. With more than $15 million infused into the project site since 2009, the terminal’s rebirth also includes a new international shipper and cross-dock operations, and a future rail line connection.
• Anderson Street Neighborhood Byway
The byway integrates transportation, placemaking and storm water management best practices within an evolving neighborhood “Main Street” in Portland’s East Bayside neighborhood, Maine’s most ethnically diverse neighborhood. Neighborhood byways prioritize bicycling and walking modes while maintaining vehicular traffic and include way finding and streetscape enhancements. This byway will incorporate extensive utility, drainage and green stormwater infrastructure.
Participants not only got to tour these much talked about projects that are transforming the city of Portland and surrounding communities, they also earned credit for up to five professional development hours (PDHs).
“The tour was a great success because each of our presenters was enthusiastic about the project. They shared their part and showed how it all fit together,” said Welzel. “It was fun to see that excitement picked up by the tour participants, and I am sure that enthusiasm will carry on.”
“All of these projects will play a big role in the future of the City of Portland and the region,” added Welzel. “We greatly appreciate the city hosting the day; they were great partners!”
The MBTA would like to offer many thanks to Welzel and Kathi Early for organizing this event and to presenters: Mike Bobinsky, Bruce Hyman and Nathaniel Smith of the City of Portland; Tom Errico of TY Lin; Craig Morin of HNTB; Bo Kennedy of FST; Don Ettinger and Randy Dutton of Gorrill-Palmer Consulting Engineers; David Senus of Woodard & Curran; and Chris Thompson of Thompson Point.