Falmouth’s Johnson Road bridge due for $2.2M upgrade

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FALMOUTH — At more than 60 years old, the Johnson Road bridge over Interstate 295 is slated for a $2.2 million makeover by the Maine Department of Transportation.

Preliminary design of the project has started, with recommendations for how best to proceed scheduled for release sometime in February or March 2019, according to DOT representative Ted Talbot.

Talbot said the agency is investigating “the structure’s true condition,” and staff may end up recommending either an extensive rehabilitation or a full replacement.

While the bridge is under review, Talbot said MDOT would also “be evaluating bike and pedestrian usage and needs, with particular attention to Falmouth’s Comprehensive Plan.”

This issue was specifically mentioned at a recent public meeting regarding the bridge project, he said.

According to MDOT, the bridge was built in 1957 and carries approximately 1,440 vehicles per day on Johnson Road, which runs from Foreside Road, across Route 1 to Middle Road.

In a presentation made at the July 11 public meeting, MDOT staff said bridge upgrades are needed to avoid limiting loads.

“The capacity of the structure has diminished over time and needs strengthening for today’s truck loadings,” MDOT said. In addition, “the decks are deteriorating to the point of needing repair (and) the shoulder widths (and) bridge railings are substandard.”

MDOT also said there are “areas of deterioration on the piers and abutments that need to be addressed.”

The department said the decks need replacement to meet current design standards and railings and curbs must be updated to meet current safety requirements.

At a minimum, the bridge also needs a new travel surface and replacement or repair of its substructure, MDOT said.

No decisions have been made about traffic management during the project, but the department said “the best option in terms of traffic impacts and costs will be utilized,” which could mean detours or single-lane travel.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KIrishCollins.

The more than 60-year-old Johnson Road bridge, which spans Interstate 295 in Falmouth, is in line for a significant upgrade.

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