Frequently Asked Questions

Why not have two-way traffic on the open half of the bridge? Surely there would be a way to reprogram the new traffic lights, adjust the closures on a schedule, or utilize flaggers to accomplish this?

ANSWER: Construction of the project requires reducing the width of the bridge and approaches by approximately half. This reduction in width does not leave enough room for the number of turning lanes required at the intersections located at each end of the bridge. Traffic engineers determined that this would result in significant congestion at each end of the bridge during busy travel periods. Traffic modeling showed the congestion would generate extensive traffic backups extending well beyond the intersections, including into downtown Waterville. All iterations of traffic patterns that involve two-way traffic would result in backups on both ends of the bridge. The decision to detour westbound traffic instead of eastbound traffic was made because the detour route for westbound traffic uses all right turns, which is more efficient for traffic flow. This was discussed at a 2022 public meeting.

Why detour westbound traffic instead of eastbound?

ANSWER: The decision to detour westbound traffic instead of eastbound traffic was made because the detour route for westbound traffic uses all right turns, which is more efficient for traffic flow.

How much consideration was given to a full bridge closure for the duration of the project?

ANSWER: Full closure of the bridge was one of the options selected for consideration. While there are efficiencies resulting from the closure, doing so would have created heavy congestion in the surrounding area and increased travel time for first responders. Because of the intensive relocation work of the utilities that run under the bridge, a full closure would not have significantly reduced construction time.

Why not build a temporary bridge adjacent to the Ticonic Bridge that can be used for the duration of the project?

ANSWER: A temporary bridge would have been cost prohibitive based on the challenging conditions of the Kennebec River, adjacent dam and spillway, adjacent railroad, and surrounding buildings.

Why is this bridge replacement taking three years when we’ve seen other bridges replaced in weeks or months?

ANSWER: Both the existing and replacement Ticonic bridge are large structures with constraints on each corner of the bridge. In order to replace the existing structure and maintain traffic, power, telecommunications, and water across the bridge, the construction must be completed in stages. Each stage includes removing a part of the existing bridge and building a new portion of the bridge in its place. This adds significant time to the construction schedule. In addition, the Kennebec River also has quite restrictive environmental constraints along with unpredictable high water flows that limit the amount of time the Contractor can build in the river which also adds time to the construction schedule.

Why do the traffic detours point people to the Carter Memorial Bridge and not the three bridges between Benton and Fairfield?

ANSWER: MaineDOT does not route potentially large volumes of traffic along local roads that are not designed to handle it. Carter Memorial Bridge is not only closer, but also it is a state route that has the capacity for more traffic. For travelers going north, the bridge between Fairfield and Benton is still an available valid option.

Why can’t pedestrians still use the bridge during construction?

ANSWER: Pedestrians are not allowed on the existing bridge during construction for safety reasons, however pedestrians will be allowed on the new bridge once the first half is constructed and open to traffic. Because the work on the bridge involves heavy machinery anticipated in the first stage of construction, it was deemed a much safer solution to detour pedestrians to the dedicated pedestrian bridge.

With pedestrians being routed to the Two Cent Bridge (the pedestrian bridge), what will be done about the lighting?

ANSWER: Early on in this process we added two extra lights to the pedestrian bridge to improve visibility. We have since modified the contract to add an additional light on the Winslow side. We continue to work with municipalities to expand this lighting to bring it up to the roadway.

What will the final traffic pattern be for the bridge? How many lanes will there be for traffic? Will there be dedicated bicycle lanes and sidewalks?

ANSWER: The final traffic pattern at the completion of construction will have four lanes of traffic servicing both eastbound and westbound traffic. Both sides of the new bridge will have sidewalks for pedestrians and a wide shoulder to accommodate bicycle traffic.

How much consideration was given to the downtown Waterville redesign? Was this project designed with that in mind?

ANSWER: The downtown Waterville redesign was considered when designing the bridge replacement project. The downtown lighting, intersection design and traffic patterns were all used to influence the bridge project. The bridge incorporates similar bridge lights to the downtown Waterville redesign.

Will this project include any unique features to make the area more aesthetically pleasing? Things like interpretive panels to celebrate the rich history, bumpouts to take in the view, or incorporating lighting or other amenities to make this area more of a destination?

ANSWER: The bridge design incorporates aesthetic lights similar to the lights installed for the downtown Waterville redesign and uses a more aesthetically pleasing bridge rail system that allows traffic to be able to better see beauty of the Kennebec River.