News Release for November 29, 2010

For more Information:
Paul Merrill, Public Information Officer - 207-624-3355 or 207-215-9297
Bill Pulver, MaineDOT Bureau of Project Development - 624-3322


Route 136 Reopens nearly one month ahead of schedule

Nearly a full month ahead of schedule, the new realignment of Route 136 in Auburn opened to traffic this morning at 9:30, providing motorists with an uninterrupted route between Auburn and Freeport.

The opening marks the culmination of a three-month collaborative effort to reopen the road as quickly as possible after a series of riverbank collapses along this stretch of the Androscoggin River had damaged sections of Route 136 and threatened an abutting residence.

“This was an extraordinary effort that required extensive cooperation in order to reopen Route 136 as quickly as possible,” said Joyce Taylor, MaineDOT Director of Project Development. “MaineDOT partnered with towns, neighbors, utilities and the construction community in order to reopen this road before the onset of winter.”

On September 2, while construction was ongoing to stabilize the weakened riverbank, a portion of the slope gave way, damaging a section of the road, and toppling a crane working on the stabilization project. Route 136 was closed, and motorists were rerouted onto a ten-mile detour that utilized Route 196.

After the early September collapse, St. Laurent and Son of Lewiston built a temporary ramp to remove the crane, then removed the crane, as MaineDOT, along with an outside consultant, conducted test borings and designed a realignment plan for the damaged area.

Once construction began, crews worked seven days a week in order to complete the realignment construction project as quickly as possible, determined to open the road before the contract date of December 23. At times, there were teams of six excavators working on the project

Shaw Brothers Construction of Gorham, in partnership with MaineDOT’s engineering team, completed the road realignment ahead of schedule. Shaw Brothers and MaineDOT worked with abutting property owners, utility companies such as Fairpoint, Central Maine Power and Time-Warner Cable, as well as the towns of Auburn and Durham in order complete the realignment ahead of schedule. The cost for the realignment and slope stabilization was approximately $1.4 million.

The new realignment for this half mile section of Route 136 places the new roadway approximately 250 feet away for the area of the riverbank that collapsed and threads around transmission line and residential constraints. MaineDOT engineers, along with an outside geotechnical firm, also designed the slope stabilization plan.

While the road is now open for traffic, construction crews are still working to stabilize the slope along that section of Route 136. The steep riverbank slope has now been angled down to a more gradual 4-1 slope ratio, and stabilized with a berm at the base and placement of rip-rap (pieces of rock 6-10” in length) on the slope. Crews will be working along the slope into December, and then after suspending work for the winter, will return in the spring to finish the slope stabilization.

Crews had stabilized the riverbank and had temporarily moved the road after the first riverbank collapse in September of 2008. Construction began this spring on a longer-term fix for the road and riverbank when portions of the banking collapsed again in June, and more severely in September.

After the Route 136 was closed, MaineDOT worked with communities and emergency services personnel to make road improvements along the detour route, and devise a plan for emergency services.

“I would like to thank the residents of Durham and Auburn for their patience and support during the construction process,” said Taylor.