If you think the project around Back Cove in Portland, Maine, has been going on for a while, you're right.

This is a massive project in Portland, Maine. Some worry that this seemingly never-ending project is Portland's 'Big Dig'.

Maine Imaging 2 Back Cove South via Portlandmaine.gov
Maine Imaging 2 Back Cove South via Portlandmaine.gov
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What IS going on with the construction at Back Cove in Portland, Maine?

WGME asked the same question in 2020. They found out that it's all part of a $40-million sewer project called Back Cove South Storage Facility. A 3.5-million gallon underground storage tank is being built to help stop sewage overflow from ending up in the ocean.

Lori Voornas
Lori Voornas
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The Senior Project Engineer (in 2020), Brad Roland, told WGME that it's the biggest combined sewer overflow project Portland has ever done. Everything you see above ground will be buried, and a new soccer field will be rebuilt about two feet higher than before. The project was supposed to be complete sometime in 2022.

Uh oh. According to documents, it now looks like they won't start training on the new system until 2025.

Lori Voornas
Lori Voornas
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Is this Back Cove project Maine's 'Big Dig'?

Not even close. According to Wikipedia, the Big Dig was a mega-project in Boston that rerouted the then-elevated Central Artery of Interstate 93 that cut across Boston into the O'Neill Tunnel, then built the Ted Williams Tunnel to extend Interstate 90 to Logan International Airport. It started in 1991, and was finally done in 2007. It was the most expensive highway project in the US, and was a mess from the beginning.  There were cost overruns, delays, leaks, design flaws, accusations of poor execution and use of substandard materials, criminal charges and arrests, and the death of one motorist.

They originally said it would be done in 1998 for around $2.8 billion. But in the end, it took until 2007, and cost over $8 billion.

Is the very popular Back Cove Trail open during the project?

Lori Voornas
Lori Voornas
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Absolutely. In fact, having the trail still open gives you a window into the project and the progress they are making. Hopefully, it's truly a year away from completion.

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