The Congress Square intersection is getting a facelift. Phase one of the redesign will reconfigure the intersection of Congress, High and Free Streets to improve traffic operations and safety, improve pedestrian accessibility, upgrade signal equipment and provide streetscape improvements.
As a result of the reconfiguration, Free Street will intersect Congress Street about 80 feet east of High Street, forming a new intersection that is designed to provide safer pedestrian crossing and to slow vehicles down as they enter Free Street. A large plaza will be created in front of the Portland Museum of Art, which will be further improved as part of phase two. Phase one of the project focuses primarily on the streets and sidewalks and phase two (which would begin no sooner than 2022) will focus on changes to Congress Square Park and other landscaping and streetscape elements.
The City’s Public Works department expects the project to go to bid in May, begin construction in July, and substantially conclude in November 2021. Phase one is estimated to cost about $2.5 million. MaineDOT is providing $1 million and the balance is coming from the city’s Capital Improvement Program and other city funding services.