The state will soon begin replacing the bridge that carries Ohio Street over Interstate 95 in Bangor, a roughly six-month construction project that will close the overpass to drivers and pedestrians and instead detour them along several nearby roads.
The project, which will enter full swing by late February, comes just three years after the Maine Department of Transportation completed another project less than a half-mile south to replace the Union Street bridge over I-95. That project took more than two years to complete and caused headaches for drivers and nearby residents.
Unlike that effort, which took place in stages so Union Street could remain open to traffic during construction, a section of Ohio Street will remain completely closed to traffic during most of the forthcoming work. That will allow the project to be completed more quickly.
But there are already some disruptions to local traffic. From now until Jan. 17, the Bangor Water District will be doing work related to the bridge replacement that requires traffic to be detoured off Ohio Street between Fourteenth Street and the on-ramp to I-95 southbound.
Maine DOT plans to completely close the overpass beginning around Feb. 24 and reopen the new bridge by Aug. 31, according to agency spokesman Paul Merrill. During that time, nonlocal Ohio Street drivers will be detoured to Union Street via Fourteenth Street or Griffin Road.
The construction will also require Maine DOT to frequently close partial or full sections of I-95 at night, between the hours of 8 p.m. and 6 a.m. During the full closures, traffic will be detoured off the interstate to avoid the construction site.
A contractor hired by the state, T Buck Construction, plans to finish demolishing the roughly 60-year-old bridge by mid-April, according to Maine DOT Project Manager Mark Parlin.
Then, the contractor will build a new bridge that includes newer materials that are resistant to corrosion. The replacement will also have 18 more inches of vertical clearance than the current overpass. Tarlin said the new bridge will have a projected lifetime of between 75 and 100 years. The total cost of the project is $5.9 million.
Last spring, Maine DOT officials initially suggested that the Ohio Street bridge replacement would be delayed because the state was receiving unexpectedly high cost estimates from construction firms bidding for projects. Ultimately, however, the state did not have to delay the work.