KITTERY, Maine — Local residents hoping to skirt around the summer traffic on Interstate 95 will not be able to travel the length of the Route 1 Bypass for a month or more, due to a bridge replacement by the Memorial Circle.
The Maine Department of Transportation will replace the bridge above Route 236 starting sometime after July 1. Once work begins, the road in the vicinity of the circle will not be open to traffic for up to 35 days, as workers remove the old bridge and replace it.
Traffic will be rerouted, with northbound traffic diverted onto the circle and southbound traffic diverted onto Route 236 and back either onto the bypass or onto Interstate 95.
Under terms of the contract for the $2.8 million project, work has to commence no later than June 30 and must be completed no later than Aug. 29. According to John Auger, Maine DOT resident engineer, work is likely to start toward the end of July.
For one 24-hour period while the bridge is being demolished, Route 236 will be shut to all traffic as well, the contract states. Other than that, Route 236 will be opened, said Auger.
“We can clearly appreciate the traffic concerns, and we are trying to complete the job with as little impact as possible,” said Leanne Timberlake, project manager in the MDOT bridge program.
The work is necessary because the bridge is deteriorating “and has reached the end of its useful life,” said Timberlake.
Many components of the concrete bridge are prefabricated, which is the primary reason the new structure can be built so quickly, she said.
When completed, the Route 236 underpass will be wider than it currently is, with two 12-foot travel lanes with 5-foot shoulders.
“It will be a substantial improvement over what’s there,” said Auger.
Signage, including digital “variable message” signs, will be placed on both sides of the work zone to alert people to the bridge closure, said Auger.
Timberlake said once the new bridge is in place, it will be open for traffic immediately. She said workers will probably remain on site for another month finishing the project.