PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Turnpike Authority has begun mobilizing crews and safety equipment for a project to construct a new interchange that will replace the existing Lewiston Exit 80 Turnpike Interchange, and replace both bridges which carry Turnpike traffic over Alfred Plourde Parkway.
Work will take place during daylight hours, Monday through Friday, with some occasional weekend and night work, if necessary, according to a Maine Turnpike press release.
The project, scheduled for completion in 2017, will redesign the interchange at its current location to improve traffic operations, accommodate long-term traffic projections and create consistency with existing and planned development in the area.
The project also realigns the four on-and-off-ramps into one intersection instead of two. The new interchange has been designed as a Single Point Urban Interchange. It will be the first SPUI interchange design in Maine.
Construction work on the project will be completed in three phases. Each phase includes specific work and advance notification will be sent for each phase of construction, including planned impact on traffic. More detailed project information can be found online at www.MaineTurnpike.com
Phase One work, which has started, includes:
- Redesigning the four on-and-off ramps, including construction of a new northbound on-ramp
- Projected traffic stops and temporary closures of the on-and-off ramps will take place intermittently throughout the duration of project construction for the safety of crews and motorists.
- In addition to the intermittent ramp closures, it will be necessary to implement several long-term full ramp closures, which will require traffic to take alternate routes to and from the interchange. Long-term closures include: northbound off-ramp exiting the Turnpike (6 days in late July); southbound off-ramp exiting the Turnpike (4 days in August); southbound on-ramp entering the Turnpike (14 days in September).
- Drilling and blasting areas of rock ledge will be necessary to construct the new northbound on-ramp. Blasting operations are scheduled to take place up to twice a day, weekdays between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., for up to four months. Traffic stops of up to 8 minutes on the Turnpike and Alfred Plourde Parkway can be expected during blasting, which is scheduled to commence next week, weather permitting.
Phase Two project construction is scheduled to begin in late 2014 and includes:
- Complete replacement of both northbound and southbound bridges which carry Turnpike traffic over Alfred Plourde Parkway.
- Median crossovers will be constructed and result in one-lane traffic in both directions over the northbound bridge while the southbound bridge is demolished and rebuilt in 2015.
- In 2016, traffic in both directions will be diverted to one-lane over the new southbound bridge while the northbound bridge is demolished and rebuilt.
Phase Three project construction includes construction to align the four interchange ramps to a newly built traffic signal intersection under the new bridges.
The Maine Turnpike urges all motorists to be alert, watch for construction signs and warnings and slow speeds to posted limits when approaching and traveling through construction areas.
R.J. Grondin & Sons of Gorham is the primary contractor for Phase One of the project with a contract cost of $5.1 million. The total Exit 80 Interchange Project cost is estimated at approximately $15.5 million.
The project was developed by the Maine Turnpike Authority in close collaboration with the Maine Department of Transportation and the City of Lewiston.
Visit MaineTurnpike.com for more information on Turnpike projects and weekly construction advisories and lane closure reports. Motorists can also sign up to receive travel alerts by email and follow us on Facebook or Twitter for timely travel alerts and additional Turnpike information. For more information on this interchange project, please contact Dan Morin, Maine Turnpike Public Relations, at (207) 482-8154 andDMorin@MaineTurnpike.com, or Erin Courtney, at (207) 482-8119 and ECourtney@MaineTurnpike.com.