BANGOR, Maine — 2009 is shaping up to be a busy year for bridge projects in Greater Bangor.
Maine Department of Transportation officials were in Bangor on Monday to announce seven projects totaling $14 million, but also to ask for the public’s cooperation and patience as those projects move forward.
“Without a doubt, [these projects] will impact the city, but we’re working hard with [Bangor] officials to minimize those impacts,” Maine DOT spokesman Mark Latti said. “It just happened that a lot of these bridges were the same age and needed to be replaced or rehabbed at the same time.”
City engineer Jim Ring said it’s impossible to embark on extensive road or bridge projects without any impacts, but he thinks Bangor is well-prepared.
“Most of the detours and traffic issues have been worked out,” he said. “And if you postpone any of these projects, the scope just gets bigger and more expensive.”
Some of the preparatory work for these projects has begun already, including the biggest of the seven projects: full replacement of the Hammond Street bridge over Interstate 95. The $4.8 million project, which is expected to continue through May 2010, will require lane shifts on the bridge, ramp closures and some overnight closures of that section of I-95. For motorists heading west away from town toward the airport, the southbound ramp onto I-95 will be closed for the duration of the project.Farther south down the Interstate, work has begun on the Route 143 bridge over I-95 in Etna. That project, totaling $4.3 million, is anticipated for completion in November 2009 but will reduce speeds on the Interstate in both north and southbound lanes to 45 mph.
Construction work on another Interstate bridge in Bangor, the span that crosses over Interstate-395, is slated to begin in March and will last for about 12 weeks. That project is budgeted at $2.1 million and includes deck replacement and concrete abutment repairs. It will require some lane closures of I-95 from April 1 through July 4.
Other projects include:
• Starting in May, the surface of the Penobscot Bridge on Broadway will be replaced at a cost of $200,000 and could force some motorists to be detoured to Chamberlain Bridge.
• Some concrete and joints will be replaced on the Veterans Bridge on I-395 that crosses the Penobscot River. The exact dates of that project have not been determined but will result only in intermittent lane closures.
• In early July, MDOT crews will spend $500,000 to replace the deck of the Cold Brook Road Bridge of I-95 in Hampden.
• Also in July, the bridge on Route 2 over the Penjajawoc Stream will be replaced at a cost of $750,000.
In all, the bridge projects total more than $14 million, but Latti pointed out that 80 percent of that is funded federally.
“The rest comes from the state, directly from the gas tax,” he said.
The nonfinancial burden, however, goes largely to the city of Bangor and its residents.
If it seems like they are all happening at once, the MDOT spokesman said it’s partly a coincidence but also partly due to the state’s prohibitive climate.
“In Maine, the construction season is short; you have to get as many in as you can,” Latti said.