The Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be closing I-295 over Veranda Street in Portland on the fourth weekend in April to accommodate the replacement of an aging interstate bridge. MaineDOT’s “Veranda Plan” involves a full closure of the highway around Exit 9 from 7:00 p.m. on Friday, April 22 to 11:00 a.m. on Monday, April 25. Additionally, Route 1 / Veranda Street (under the bridge) will be closed for a full week, from 2:00 p.m. on Monday, April 18 to 2:00 p.m. on Monday, April 25.
These closures had originally been planned for October 2021 but had to be postponed because of challenges involving the lightweight geofoam fill being used on the project. A national resin shortage had slowed the process of obtaining replacement geofoam blocks. The new closure dates are not creating additional traffic impacts - just changing the timing.
Site work was halted for the winter months, but crews will return to the job site in late February and early March.
The I-295 and Route 1/Veranda Street closures are expected to increase traffic on the Maine Turnpike and on local roads in Portland and Falmouth. MaineDOT is asking members of the public to avoid this area during the interstate closure weekend. Drivers who must travel on I-295 through Portland or on Route 1 / Veranda Street in Portland and Falmouth are encouraged to make their own “Veranda Plan.” Detour routes are available by visiting www.verandaplan.org. That site also includes live video feeds of the construction site, an FAQ section, and a link to pre-register for a yet-to-be-scheduled live virtual meeting that will include project updates and a question-and-answer period.
The Veranda Street Bridge is 60 years old and needs to be replaced. This project also involves a reconfiguration of Route 1 / Veranda Street to improve mobility and safety. Crews are constructing the new bridge on the east side of the existing bridge and a Self-Propelled Modular Transporter (SPMT) will be used to move the new structure into place during the 64-hour interstate closure. SPMTs are used to transport massive objects that can't be moved by trucks. Most notably, NASA uses SPMTs to move space shuttle components. This is the first time MaineDOT is using an SPMT. This accelerated bridge construction process will greatly reduce the long-term traffic impacts that would have occurred if conventional construction had been used. The contract for construction of this project, awarded to Cianbro in November 2020, is $18.1 million. The total project cost (including engineering, inspection, and other costs) is approximately $20.8 million. Construction of the project started in March 2020. MaineDOT aims to finish this project by the end of 2022.
For more information, please contact Paul Merrill, MDOT public information officer, by calling (207) 624-3355 or (207) 215-9297 or by emailing Paul.Merrill@maine.gov.
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