AUGUSTA — The Maine Department of Transportation released the 2021 Edition of its three-year Work Plan on January 25, 2021. This Work Plan includes all capital projects and programs, maintenance and operations activities, planning initiatives, and administrative functions for calendar years 2021, 2022, and 2023.
This plan contains 2,180 individual work items with a total value of $2.71 billion.
Despite significant challenges arising from the pandemic, this Work Plan maintains essential service and provides for solid capital programs, according to MDOT, in a news release.
“It does so with robust and prudent state bonding made possible by historically low interest rates and by fully utilizing discretionary and extraordinary federal funding,” said MDOT. “It also seeks to expand partnership programs, support existing and emerging businesses, refocus investment in our villages, and confront climate change.
This Work Plan includes nearly $1.4 billion for highway and bridge capital projects over the next three years. That includes:
- 166 bridge projects (estimated cost: $504 million).
- 100 miles of highway construction and rehabilitation (estimated cost: $212 million).
- 222 highway safety and spot improvements (estimated cost: $122 million).
- 893 miles of preservation paving (estimated cost: $321 million).
- 2,175 miles of Light Capital Paving (estimated cost: $108 million).
Notable projects in this Work Plan include:
- Construction of the I-395/Route 9 Connector in Brewer/Eddington (estimated cost: $90.8 million).
Partially funded by $25 million in federal grant money.
- Replacement of two bridges that carry I-295 in Yarmouth and two that cross I-295 in Freeport (estimated cost of all four projects: $38.8 million).
Partially funded by $18.9 million in federal grant money.
- Replacement of the Route 1 (Station 46) Bridge in Woolwich (estimated cost: $32.5 million).
Partially funded $25 million in federal grant money.
- Bridge replacements and intersection improvements in Old Town and Stillwater (estimated cost: $20 million).
Partially funded by $10.7 million in federal grant money.
- A railroad siding and platform project to improve Downeaster service in Wells (estimated cost: $23 million).
Partially funded by $16.2 in federal grant money.
- Continued work on the Acadia Gateway Center project in Trenton (estimated cost: $23 million).
Partially funded by $12.8 million in federal grant money.
- Two Maine State Ferry Service vessel replacements (estimated cost: $19 million).
- Heavy rehabilitation work on U.S. Route 1 in Machias and East Machias (estimated cost: $6 million).
- Dredging Searsport harbor (estimated cost: $5.3 million).
- Improvements to the Eastern Trail in Scarborough (estimated cost: $4.8 million).
This Work Plan, like all such plans, is dependent upon funding assumptions involving state Highway Fund revenue, state bonding, and federal funds. Should funding sources not materialize, the work items within this plan will need to be adjusted to reflect funding changes, according to the release.
”Despite experiencing a year like no other, MaineDOT continues to deliver at an extraordinary rate,” said MDOT. “The on-time delivery rate for our capital program was a record-breaking 94 percent in 2020. Our essential mission remains unchanged: to support economic opportunity and quality of life by responsibly providing our customers with the safest and most reliable transportation system possible, given available resources.
”Transportation needs in Maine continue to far outpace available resources. The pre-pandemic estimate of MaineDOT's unmet need was $232 million per year. That shortfall figure was calculated after assuming that state bonding of $100 million or more will continue annually. The economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic including drops in traffic volumes and, subsequently, Highway Fund revenue have exacerbated MaineDOT's funding challenges.”
"In the short term, we must focus on defeating the virus, restoring our economy, helping Maine people and businesses in need, and addressing budget shortfalls," said MaineDOT Commissioner Bruce Van Note. "In the long term, we have great opportunities to make a real difference for the people of Maine after we resolve the chronic funding challenges in our transportation system. By investing in transportation, we can move Maine forward."