Member News: Construction season
Scenes from construction projects underway in Maine
Summer in Maine means construction crews are busy on transportation projects. Here’s a look at some of the major projects underway across the state.
Fort Kent International Border Crossing
Soderberg Construction began work on the approach to the new international bridge in Fort Kent in mid-June and has been working under challenging conditions. The project is part of a multi-contract reconstruction of the border crossing that includes a new bridge, new approaches on both the U.S. and Canadian sides and demolition of the old bridge.
Carl Soderberg reports that the work is going well, despite strict deadlines leading up to the much-anticipated World Acadian Congress, August 8 through 24. MaineDOT and its Canadian counterpart, the New Brunswick Department of Transportation, opened the bridge in time for an estimated 60,000 visitors expected to attend events on both sides of the border.
The $4.3 million contract includes construction of the new road leading to the new crossing, raising of a section of Main Street to match the higher profile of the new bridge, construction of new sidewalks, drainage and lighting, relocation of the border station and construction of a customs booth and canopy. Overall, Soderberg estimates that about 100 people, including subcontractors, will be employed by the project’s end. While Soderberg crews will come in to wrap up most of the work on the project this fall after the congress is over, the project will not be completed until next spring when demolition of the old bridge (by Reed & Reed) is finished.
Crews began work on this $6.6 million pavement rehabilitation and bridge repair project in late March of this year, and expect to continue through mid-September. According to Alex Phelps of Pike Industries, the primary contractor on the job, much of the paving work, which includes milling of the highway to a two-inch depth, shimming and laying down a polymer modified wear surface on three northbound and three southbound lanes, is being done at night due to the high traffic volumes on this section of the highway.
Pike has subcontracted with Scott Construction for repairs to two bridges in the 10-mile section – the Kennebunk River Bridge at Mile 27 and the Mousam River Bridge at Mile 25 – and Pratt & Sons to perform drainage and clear zone improvements on the project. Phelps said that Pike expects to wrap up paving and pavement marking work on the project before Labor Day weekend and to complete cleanup during the early weeks of September.
Berwick Bridge, Berwick – Somersworth
This bridge, which carries nearly 16,000 vehicles a day, is undergoing a major rehabilitation that includes bridge superstructure replacement, new steel girders, a new concrete deck, new railings and lighting upgrades, as well as a new rail crossing and rehabilitation of both east and west abutments. The four-lane bridge spans 110 feet across the Salmon Falls River and connects the historic downtowns of Somersworth, New Hampshire and South Berwick, Maine, and was last rehabilitated in 1963. MaineDOT scheduled a few short duration full traffic closures on the bridge: two weekend closures to construct a temporary rail crossing and, later, the permanent concrete crossing, as well as evening closures when crews erected new steel girders. The rest of the time, traffic on the bridge has been limited to one lane in each direction that has shifted as crews have constructed the bridge in phases.
Kim Suhr of Wyman & Simpson, the primary contractor on the $2.3 million project, said work began in April of this year and the project is scheduled to be “substantially complete” this fall. The bridge is being funded jointly by MaineDOT and NHDOT in cooperation with the towns of Berwick, Maine and Somersworth, New Hampshire.
Maine Turnpike Paving, Mile 102.6 to Mile 109.1
This Maine Turnpike paving project got underway when Lane Construction Corporation placed construction signage and traffic control devices early in May. The project, that stretches just under seven miles on four lanes of I-95, includes drainage, pavement markings and guardrail modifications. Much of the work is being done during non-peak hours, as this section of the Maine Turnpike can experience considerable traffic during both summer tourism season and regular commuter hours.
Gregory Schaube of The Lane Construction Corporation, the primary contractor on the project, estimates that as many as 60 will work on the job (paving crews, traffic control, guardrail crews and others) by the time the project wraps up this fall. Total budget for the paving project is $4.19 million.
Lewiston Interchange, Maine Turnpike
As a result of a multi-year planning effort in the Lewiston-Auburn region, the Maine Turnpike Authority, in coordination with the city of Lewiston and the Maine Department of Transportation, established a plan to redesign the Exit 80 interchange in Lewiston, Maine. The new interchange has been designed as a single point urban interchange (SPUI), the first to be constructed in Maine. The SPUI design was selected to reduce impacts on adjacent property owners and natural resources, to improve current traffic operations and to accommodate future growth in the region.
Last fall, R.J. Grondin & Sons began work on the first phase of the new interchange: construction of a new northbound on-ramp and reconstruction of the other three ramps. The estimated cost of the first phase is $5.1 million. That work is expected to be complete in the fall of 2104, and Phase II, construction of the mainline and bridges, is scheduled to begin shortly thereafter. The new southbound bridge will be constructed next and is expected to be complete in 2015. Construction of the new northbound bridge will follow in 2016. During the bridge project, the northbound ramps and southbound ramps will temporarily operate as two different intersections, similar to how they have worked for past 20 years. The final phase of the project, that builds the new single-point ramps and ties them into one new traffic signal on Alfred Plourde Parkway, is scheduled to begin construction in 2016.
Route 1 Reconstruction, Warren
Work began in late June on reconstruction of a 1.52-mile section of Route 1 in Warren from south of the Sandy Shore Road past the intersection with Route 97. Joel Wardwell, project manager for the Lane Construction Corporation, the primary contractor on the $4.63 million reconstruction project, reports that by the end of next summer, crews will have removed 5,600 cubic yards of ledge and 17,900 square yards of the old concrete road, excavated 35,000 cubic yards, installed 7,100 linear feet of new drainage and rebuilt the road with 35,000 cubic yards of aggregate and 13,000 tons of pavement. The new road will feature new, eight-foot shoulders.
One challenge has been managing traffic flow on the popular section of highway. MaineDOT is restricting travel to just one alternating lane with maximum 1,000-foot closures during July and August.
Wardwell said crews will suspend work on the project late fall and resume construction again next spring with an anticipated completion in August 2015.
Oakdale Bridge, Route 202, Auburn
The Oakdale Bridge, northbound on Route 202, spans the Little Androscoggin River in Auburn. This $2.3 million bridge construction project began on June 1 when MaineDOT shut down the northbound two lanes of the existing bridge and rerouted traffic to the southbound bridge via Chasse and Philomar streets in Auburn.
The contract includes removing the existing three-span bridge and replacing it with a 200-foot-wide, two-span structure. Wyman & Simpson is the primary contractor on the project, scheduled to be complete by mid-November of this year.