News Release for August 26, 2011

For more Information:
Paul Merrill, Public Information Officer - 207-624-3355 or 207-215-9297


All Lanes Of Tukeys Bridge Are Set To Reopen

PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Department of Transportation announced today that all lanes and previously closed on- and off-ramps on Tukeys Bridge on I-295 are scheduled to reopen within days, weeks ahead of schedule. The Tukeys Bridge project is the largest individual project in the $24 million I-295 rehabilitation project.

Once roadway barriers are removed, Washington Avenue will again be part of the I-295 traffic flow on Tukeys Bridge. Highway crews will also reopen the Baxter Boulevard on-ramp to I-295 Northbound, and the temporary traffic light on Franklin Street’s northbound on-ramp will no longer be in use.

There is the possibility that the forecasted heavy rain could delay the opening. Lane stripes must be painted before the lanes are opened, and this step is weather-dependent.

Once reopened, drivers will regain not only the four travel lanes across the bridge, both northbound and southbound, but also full access to I-295 Northbound from Washington Avenue and to Washington Avenue from I-295 Northbound via the Exit 8 off-ramp.

Earlier this summer, crews had cordoned Washington Avenue off completely, creating essentially a local road with no access to or from I-295. This strategy facilitated a sequence of work zone lane closures on the northbound side of the bridge as well as repair work just to the north on the Washington Avenue, Sherwood Street, SLRR, and Kensington Street overpasses.

“I think three factors contributed to our success in getting all of Tukeys Bridge reopened quickly,” said David Sherlock, MaineDOT Bridge Program Manager. “We started with a very efficient work plan that balanced the needs of construction and of motorists as best we could. We had several, productive stretches due to good weather, and we had very motivated and hardworking contractors and construction crews focused on getting the job done.”

The infrastructure improvements on the bridge and the overpasses called for removal of existing pavement, repairs on the concrete deck, newly installed membranes, repaving, and repaired expansion joints on both side of the bridge. In addition, crews installed new guardrails and paved miles of I-295, including three bridges, between Falmouth and Freeport.

“We still have a lot of work to do,” added Sherlock. “We still need to complete paving operations from Tukeys Bridge to Exit 9 on I-295 Northbound, now through mid October, but this will work occur at night between 7:00 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.”

Paving operations on I-295 Southbound from Exit 11 to the Maine Turnpike tollbooth in Scarborough will continue until mid-September. This work is also scheduled during the nighttime from 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m.

Even in the final phases of the I-295 project, MaineDOT continues to stress the possibility of traffic backups during peak traffic hours and over the upcoming Labor Day Weekend.

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This effort is part of a substantial I-295 repair and improvement project that will be ongoing through the fall of this year. Roadway and bridge repair work has been structured to minimize the impact on motorists while improving the safety and enjoyment of traveling one of Maine’s most popular highways.

MaineDOT appreciates the patience of all motorists during this construction period, and also asks motorists to drive safely through all work zones.