PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - Renovations are underway to improve the way Portland is viewed, by land and by sea. A groundbreaking for the $3 million renovation project to the Casco Bay Ferry Terminal in Portland kicked off construction on Wednesday morning.
Portland Mayor Michael Brennan says this is an investment to the waterfront. "Most importantly, this is going to improve services for people who live on the islands and use Casco Bay Lines," he said.
The plan for the project has been in the works for about two years now, but it's starting now, thanks to federal grants from the Federal Transportation Authority as well as funding from the Maine Department of Transportation and money from the local level.
The project will be divided into four phases. The first will focus on expanding the waiting area and aesthetics on the side facing the water - the side passengers aboard the ferries see first upon entering Portland.
There will be much more outdoor seating, with enough space for islanders to fit their grocery carts and luggage while waiting for the ferry back to their island homes. Islanders also requested having restrooms located closer to the ferries, so those will be moved to the new waiting room area, too.
Terminals 4 and 5 will remain open during renovations, with fences protecting the entire construction area. The freight terminal will be reorganized. In phase 2, a roof terrace will be built over the freight area to allow tourists and residents to have a better view of the ships in Casco Bay.