TOPSHAM — The northbound lanes of Interstate 295 from Exit 31 in Topsham to Exit 49 in Gardiner will close at the end of the day Monday, June 15, for pavement rehabilitation work that Maine Department of Transportation officials expect to conclude by Aug. 23.
Resurfacing has already occurred on the northbound lanes between Exits 28 and 31 in Brunswick and Topsham and from Exit 49 north to the Maine Turnpike toll plaza, DOT Highway Program Director Brad Foley said Monday.
Just north of Exit 31, northbound travelers will use a crossover to the southbound lanes to continue their trips during this summer’s work. Southbound traffic will be re-routed to Route 201 and I-95.
For those using I-95 or the Turnpike as an alternate route, the Maine Turnpike Authority is offering to loan drivers E-ZPass tags. Through this program, drivers can use the tag during the project without having to pay the initial $25 purchase price. Participants must deposit money into an E-ZPass account to pay tolls.
The tags must be returned in good working order by Oct. 15, or drivers can retain the tag for permanent use by paying the purchase price. Call the E-ZPass Customer Service Center at (888) MTA-PASS for more information and to request an application for the loaner program.
While this summer’s work is underway, an old on-ramp in Topsham, used when that portion of I-295 was built in the 1970s, will be open to allow southbound Route 201 traffic to access the Interstate without having to travel the already busy Route 196 stretch to get there. The alternative ramp was used last year, when the southbound lanes of I-295 between Exits 31 and 49 were closed for similar rehabilitation work.
Pike Industries bid $31.5 million to complete the project and has a financial incentive to finish early, as well as a penalty if it finishes late.
“We’re hoping again that weather will be favorable and they’ll be able to open early,” Foley said, pointing out that Pike shaved about 20 days off last year’s schedule.
Money for the project comes from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or firstname.lastname@example.org.