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News Release for February 3, 2011
New Traffic Plan and Signal lights accommodate truckers on International Bridge
The Maine Department of Transportation, in conjunction with businesses and town and government officials in the Fort Kent area, have implemented a new traffic plan that now allows heavy truck traffic to cross the International Bridge in Fort Kent.
The 82-year-old bridge was posted with a weight limit of 3 tons early last month due to the deteriorating condition of the outside steel beams that support the bridge deck. As part of the new traffic plan, the new posted weight limit is four tons, and a signal system now regulates truck traffic across the bridge.
The new traffic plan has vehicles that weigh over 4 tons line up in a traffic queue on either side of the bridge. This queue is regulated by signal lights. Every ten minutes, the signal lights stop vehicle traffic and give truck traffic a green light, allowing one truck only to travel across the bridge, utilizing the center of the bridge. Once the truck has passed over the bridge, regular traffic resumes for the next 10 minutes, after which one truck from the opposite side is given the green light to cross.
On average, 940 vehicles a day utilize this international crossing, including approximately 40 trucks per day.
The new signal system has the capacity to handle six truck crossings per hour, or 144 per day. Allowing trucks to utilize this bridge eliminates the need for these trucks to utilize a 40-mile detour that travels through the international crossing in Madawaska.
Work on replacing the International Bridge with a new bridge is scheduled to begin this summer.
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