LEWISTON - The City Council has voted to move forward with design Phase 1B of the proposed 5th Street and Bryden Avenue Fire Station. The approval will bring the project to 60% design completion for a phase total of $298,730. The previously completed Phase 1A of the project, including purchase of the land, is estimated to total $550,000. At the current phase approval rate, the station could be operational by January 2024.
The approval comes after the council was informed that the estimated station construction costs have risen from $4 million to $6.9 million, due to inflating material and labor prices. Last month, the council explored building the station on leased airport property as a cost saving measure. In addition, concerns were raised about traffic congestion and vehicle safety if the proposed station were to be constructed at 5th Street and Bryden Avenue.
During Monday night's city council meeting, Fire Chief Myklebust took steps to address the council's congestion concerns. He proposed an emergency signal light be added to the project at the station's Bryden Avenue entrance.
When crews prepare to exit the proposed station, the emergency signal would automatically turn on causing traffic on Bryden Avenue to stop. Once all vehicles clear the station entrance, the traffic light at 5th Street and Bryden Avenue would turn red to stop traffic in all directions. This would allow emergency vehicles to safely exit the station and pass through the intersection. Once the emergency vehicles clear the intersection, the signal and light control would end and normal traffic flow would resume. The Fire Chief estimates emergency traffic would exit the station 5-10 times throughout the day.