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MaineDOT Outlines Upcoming Bridge Projects

Friday, February 5, 2021

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In its three-year work plan, the Maine Department of Transportation published an outline at the end of January, noting on all the capital projects and programs, maintenance and operations activities, planning initiatives and administrative functions it plans to complete between 2021-2023.

According to the documents, the plan contains 2,180 individual work items with a total value of $2.71 billion. While most of the work will be delivered or coordinated through MaineDOT, the plan also includes funding and work by other transportation partners, including airports and transit agencies.

“This is the first—and hopefully last—Work Plan we will release during a global pandemic. Obviously, COVID-19 has impacted everything, including transportation in Maine,” wrote Maine Gov. Bruce Van Note.

“Despite a year like no other, MaineDOT’s essential mission remains unchanged: to support economic opportunity and quality of life by responsibly providing our customers with the safest and most reliable transportation system possible, given available resources.”

historicbridges.com / Nathan Holth

In its three-year work plan, the Maine Department of Transportation published an outline at the end of January, noting on all the capital projects and programs, maintenance and operations activities, planning initiatives, and administrative functions it plans to complete between 2021-2023.

In reflecting the reality of COVID-19 and focusing in on defeating the virus, restoring the state’s economy, helping residents and businesses in need, and addressing budget shortfalls, among other things, Van Note lists that the work plan aims to:

  • Keeps Maine working now and builds on our long-term economic foundation by maintaining solid capital transportation programs. It does so with robust and prudent state bonding made possible by historically low interest rates and by fully utilizing discretionary and extraordinary federal funding.
  • Requires MaineDOT to squeeze the most value from every existing reliable dollar. To do so, we must continue to “MacGyver,” which means “to make or repair (an object) in an improvised or inventive way, making use of whatever items are at hand.”
  • Requires MaineDOT to be agile enough to respond to possible different federal funding futures, including more economic stimulus or a large national infrastructure package."
  • Expands partnership programs, supports existing and emerging businesses, refocuses investment in our villages, enhances planning and communication, and confronts climate change.

“Transportation is fundamental to our safety, economic prosperity, and quality of life. It is fundamental to everything we do and who we are. Admittedly, we have big challenges in the near-term as we defeat the virus. In the long-term, we have great opportunities to make a real difference for the people of Maine after we resolve the chronic funding challenge. We look forward to working with you to maximize these opportunities as we move forward together,” Van Note concluded in his letter to MaineDOT customers and partners.

Funding for these projects will be provided by State Highway Fund revenue sources, Federal funds, bonding, state multimodal funding, municipal matching funding, previously programmed funds and other funding sources. Some federal USDOT competitive grants already awarded to the state include:

  • $25 million INFRA grant for the I-395/Route 9 Connector, providing a quarter of the estimated total project cost;
  • $1 million AID Demonstration grant for the use of Advanced Geotechnical Exploration Methods (A-GaME) for the I-395/Route 9 Connector project;
  • $38.1 million INFRA grant to fund the Freight Reliability Actions for Maine (FRAME) bridge replacement and intersection improvement bundle, which includes eight bridges and one intersection on critical freight corridors around the state;
  • $2.29 million FTA Section 5339 Low-No Emissions grant for battery-electric powered buses;
  • $12.8 million FTA Section 5339 Bus and Bus Facilities grant for construction of the Acadia Gateway Center intermodal facility and welcome center in Trenton;
  • $25 million BUILD grant for the replacement of the Route 1 bridge over Back River Creek in Woolwich;
  • $25 million BUILD grant for the replacement of the Ticonic Bridge connecting Waterville and Winslow;
  • $20 million BUILD grant to fund the Bridging the Economy of Rural Maine six-bridge replacement/rehabilitation bundle;
  • $25 million CHBP grants to fund bridge replacement bundles in both Franklin County and on I-295 in Cumberland County;
  • $17.2 million CRISI grant to fund upgrades to the Pan Am Railways mainline from Waterville to Royal Junction; and
  • $600-thousand AID Demonstration grant for innovative designs in construction of the proposed diverging diamond interchange between Interstate 95 and Hogan Road in Bangor.

Plans for Bridge Projects

As part of its capital projects budge, Maine intends to undertake dozens of bridge reconstruction projects, totaling more than a half billion dollars. According to reports, however, more than half of the total $2.7 billion the state plans to spend in its work plan is slated for highway and bridge capital projects.

Due to the fact that bridge projects can shut down entire corridors and the safety concerns associated with the work, bridge projects are reported to be a high priority in the work plan, as using all federal funding requires that a state match is provided. Failure to deliver a project funded by a past competitive grant award also jeopardizes the success of future awards.

In choosing which projects would be included in the plan, MaineDOT staff committees—made up of engineers and technicians with hundreds of years of cumulative experience—including the Highway Committee, the Bridge Committee, the Multimodal Committee, the Safety and Mobility Committee, and the Management Team of the Bureau of Maintenance and Operations, worked together to identify project candidates and prioritize them for the program.

In the three-year plan, MaineDOT will reportedly direct $1.4 billion to highway and bridge capital projects, including the following:

  • 166 bridge projects - estimated cost: $504 million;
  • 100 miles of highway construction and rehabilitation - estimated cost: $212 million;
  • 222 highway safety and spot improvements - estimated cost: $122 million;
  • 893 miles of preservation paving - estimated cost: $321 million; and
  • 2,175 miles of Light Capital Paving (LCP) - estimated cost: $108 million.

The MaineDOT also plans to average $10.3 million in annual bridge and structural maintenance, $5.5 million in bridge and other infrastructure inspections and inventory, and $25.9 million in drainage maintenance.

While a full list of projects slated in the work plan can be viewed here.

Most notably, the Department lists a $40.5 million bridge improvement project to take place at the Ticonic Bridge in Waterville, a $38.8 million effort to replace two bridges that carry Interstate 295 in Yarmouth and two that cross I-295 in Freeport, a $32.5 million effort to replace the Station 46 Bridge over Back River Creek in Woolwich, as well as a $21.8 million project in Topsham that plans to replace the Frank J. Wood Bridge over Androscoggin River.

   

Tagged categories: Bridges; Bridges; Department of Transportation (DOT); Funding; Infrastructure; Infrastructure; NA; North America; Ongoing projects; Program/Project Management; Project Management; Upcoming projects

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