BANGOR, Maine — The Maine Department of Transportation has been awarded $600,000 in federal funding for the diverging diamond interchange planned for the Hogan Road exit on Interstate 95.
The money from the U.S. Department of Transportation will support the project’s design, according to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, chairwoman of the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Subcommittee.
“I am delighted that the State of Maine will receive this funding to move forward with the new interchange that has been proposed for I-95 and Hogan Road in Bangor,” Collins said.
“Once completed, this redesigned intersection will increase safety and benefit all users of this heavily traveled roadway,” she said.
State officials say the diverging diamond interchange design has been shown elsewhere to reduce crashes by about half, while increasing mobility and reducing congestion to prevent backups.
It also would provide a dedicated protected path for bicyclists and pedestrians within the width of the Hogan Road bridge.
The diverging diamond interchange would be the first of its kind to be built in Maine and among fewer than 60 that have been built nationwide, Edward Hanscom, the head of transportation analysis for the Maine Department of Transportation, said during a presentation in Bangor in June of last year.
According to Department of Transportation, Exit 187 is considered the busiest in the state, with an average of about 35,000 vehicles using it each day.
Expected to cost between $3 million and $5 million, the proposed diverging diamond redesign of the Hogan Road exit would result in an unusual traffic flow configuration on the bridge.
“The thing it does for safety is reduce conflicts between vehicles,” Hanscom said at that time. “It reduces the number of opportunities vehicles have to cross each others’ paths, and when you can reduce those conflicts, you reduce crashes because that’s where crashes happen, at conflict points.”
In addition, lowering speeds would minimize the severity of those crashes that do occur, he said.
The Hogan Road exit was built in 1960, according to the Department of Transportation. The Hogan Road bridge underwent a major widening in 1983. The nearby Stillwater Avenue exit was added in 2001, and the Bangor Mall area has seen increased development and developer projects in recent years.
As it stands, the interchange has safety problems and often is congested, state transportation officials have said. There also are no sidewalks or adequate shoulders on the bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists.
The interchange also has three high-crash locations, with 94 collisions in the latest three-year period, 72 of which occurred at the two traffic signals on the bridge, according to state transportation officials. Thirty-six percent of the collisions resulted in injury, they said.
The plan is to continue using the existing bridge, which has an estimated service life of about 10 more years.