KITTERY — The "Maine Ahead" project on the Piscatacqua River (I-95) Bridge in Kittery is entering its third and final year on time and on budget. This project is improving safety and mobility on Maine's most important bridge and will preserve the structure for another 50 years of use. This work is also preparing the bridge for an Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) project, which will allow part-time shoulder use during peak travel times.
Work on the new bridge joints is finished, the bridge deck is 79 percent complete, the barriers are 49 percent complete, and the paving work is 43 percent complete. To date, crews have placed 3,400 cubic yards of concrete and used 417,000 pounds of steel. This project started in May 2019 and is expected to be finished by May 2022.
During the upcoming Memorial Day weekend, all six travel lanes (three on each side) will be open to traffic from Thursday, May 27, at 6 p.m., through Tuesday, June 1, at 5:30 a.m.
Traffic volumes are still between 10 and 20 percent below what they were before the pandemic, but they are slowly returning to normal. As Maine enters its peak tourist season, the Maine Department of Transportation is urging drivers to obey posted speed limits and stay alert behind the wheel.
The "Maine Ahead: Building a Better Gateway" project is a collaboration involving the Maine Department of Transportation, the Maine Turnpike Authority, and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. The goal of the project is to revitalize and rehabilitate the travel corridor that welcomes millions of commuters, travelers, and freight drivers to Maine every year. The initiative focuses on two major construction projects on the I-95 corridor: the Piscataqua River Bridge and the York Toll Plaza. The toll plaza work involves making safety improvements and creating the ability to allow highway-speed tolling. The bridge work will extend the life of the bridge, add needed safety improvements, and prepare the structure for breakdown-lane travel during peak travel periods.
In 2018, 37 million tourists visited Maine – a 33-percent increase from 2012 tourism numbers. During normal times, 78,000 vehicles cross the Piscataqua River Bridge every day, and in the summer, that daily traffic number can climb to 130,000 vehicles. More than 15 million transactions occur at the York Toll Plaza each year. In 2019, on Labor Day weekend alone, nearly 250,000 transactions occurred at the York Toll Plaza, with 187,000 being captured electronically.
For the latest information, visit www.buildingabettergateway.com , and follow @MaineAheadNews on Facebook and Twitter.