BATH — The viaduct that carries U.S. Route 1 over the heart of the city reopened Wednesday, more than three weeks ahead of the scheduled Memorial Day deadline.
“It’s a great day … and we’re opening 25 days ahead of schedule,” Maine Department of Transportation Resident Engineer Glenn Philbrook said at a press conference shortly before the scheduled noon opening.
Project updates are posted at maine.gov/mdot/projects/bathviaduct/news. As of April 27, a high-performance membrane still had to be placed on the deck in order to waterproof it, and paving, cleanup and striping were to follow.
DOT closed the bridge-like structure last October for a seven-month reconstruction project. Motorists have been diverted to “frontage roads,” including Leeman Highway and Commercial Street, while Woolwich-based Reed & Reed construction performed the work.
“All the credit goes to Reed & Reed,” Philbrook said in an interview April 27. They’re a great contractor, they put their best team on the project.”
Despite the project’s complexities, he said, “they were able to work out a schedule that just kept things going, even being hit with five storm days, where they had to shut down work completely.”
Reed & Reed’s efficiency will pay off, too, since the contract includes an incentive of $20,000 for each day the project is completed ahead of schedule.
The total construction cost for the new viaduct, designed to last 75 to 100 years, has been about $14 million, according to DOT Project Manager Joel Kittredge. Federal and state funds have gone into the project.
Although the viaduct will be back in business, work on the streets below will follow. New sidewalks, pavement, and landscaped medians will be installed from the Centre Street intersection to the Washington Street intersection, Philbrook said.
The two-lane, 59-year-old viaduct stretched a quarter mile, from High Street to the Sagadahoc Bridge, and ran past Bath Iron Works. It was last closed in 2007, when a new surface was applied.