U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and Bangor City Council Chair Rick Fournier are among those expected to attend the bus station's Friday grand opening.
In this Jan. 4, 2021, file photo, a Community Connector driver waits for riders to board her bus outside the Hannaford on Broadway in Bangor. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

The long-awaited bus station will open Friday in downtown Bangor.

A 1 p.m. ceremony will mark the grand opening of the Bangor Area Transit Center, which stands at the former location of Pickering Square, according to the city.

Bangor City Council Chair Rick Fournier and U.S. Sen. Susan Collins are among the officials expected to attend Friday’s ceremony on Water Street. The public can tour the bus station after the ceremony.

The new hub is part of a large-scale remodel of Pickering Square. In 2019, work was completed on a project to redesign the area around Merchant’s Plaza, including extensive landscaping work, changing the entrance to the parking garage and removing the old bus station, which was housed in the garage. In July 2021, a new steel truss footbridge replaced the crumbling old bridge spanning Kenduskeag Stream.

Last year, the City Council approved a $3.4 million contract with Westbrook-based Benchmark Corp. to build the bus station. Though the developer’s bid was the lowest submitted to the city, it was more than double the initially anticipated cost.

That followed several years of discussion and debate among the City Council and Bangor residents over the fate of Pickering Square and whether to move the hub for the Community Connector bus system elsewhere in downtown or beyond.

The Community Connector services Bangor, Brewer, Orono, Hampden, Old Town, Veazie and the University of Maine.

Though the bus station is slated to open Friday, the public buses will continue to pick up and drop off riders at its temporary hub at Broad Street Park until Dec. 14 while contractors finish outstanding work, according to the city.