BANGOR, Maine — Early stages of Bangor’s West Market Square overhaul and Union Street overpass projects launch next week, and motorists and pedestrians should expect to see changes.
The Interstate 95 northbound offramp to Ohio Street will be closed permanently on Tuesday, April 15, to improve safety on ramps that connect Union Street to the interstate, according to the Maine Department of Transportation. On the nights of April 15 and 17, the Bangor Water District will close portions of Union Street near the I-95 overpass to install new water lines. Traffic on Union Street may be restricted to one lane in either direction or detoured to Ohio Street.
These are the first phases of a lengthy $8.8 million project to replace the deteriorating bridge.
Once the westbound half of the bridge is finished sometime in the spring of 2015, crews will shut down the other half and repeat the process. Eventually the entire bridge will be replaced. One sidewalk will be kept open on the open side of the bridge throughout the construction process.
Traffic will be a major concern — and headache — throughout the process, city and DOT officials caution. All side streets in the area of the bridge — 15th, 16th and 17th streets, Beecher Park, Eddyway Street, Sunset Avenue and the Bangor Housing Authority driveway — will be closed off from Union Street to prevent vehicles from trying to bypass the bridge by cutting through neighborhoods to get to the parallel Ohio Street.
On Monday, drivers in Bangor’s downtown will see the first signs of West Market Square’s makeover. Crews periodically will close Bangor Alley from Broad Street to the Kenduskeag Plaza West to dig test pits, according to Bangor Public Works Director Dana Wardwell. Several parking spots in the Kenduskeag Plaza will be closed and used to store materials for construction.
The city is replacing sewer and water lines in the area that are more than a century old before tackling the aesthetic surface portions of the project. Traffic should be minimally affected by this portion of the project, Wardwell said, but as crews move to Main Street in later stages of the project, drivers should expect to see lane closures.