Reconstruction of Route 1 viaduct in Bath to begin in October

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BATH — The viaduct that carries U.S. Route 1 traffic over the heart of the city will close later this year for reconstruction.

Under the state’s plan, the structure can’t be closed until Oct. 11, and must reopen no later than Memorial Day 2017, Maine Department of Transportation project manager Joel Kittredge said Jan. 21. There are incentives for early completion, and penalties for running late.

All work must be completed by June 30, 2017.

“The superstructure … is going to be torn down, right down to the ground,” Kittredge said. “And then it will be rebuilt.”

Preliminary work will begin in April on Washington Street intersections, frontage roads and drainage, according to Kittredge. The viaduct will remain open during that time, and no work will be done during Heritage Days in July.

Four pre-qualified contractors can bid on the project: Cianbro, CPM Contractors, Reed & Reed, and Wyman & Simpson. Bids are scheduled to be opened Feb. 17.

The two-lane viaduct is a quarter mile long, from High Street to the Sagadahoc Bridge, running past Bath Iron Works. The structure was last closed in 2007, with traffic re-routed to Leeman Highway and Commercial Street, while a new surface was applied.

The same detour will be used this time, too.

The total project cost is $15.1 million, including $1.9 million for preliminary engineering, $12.7 million for construction and $500,000 for construction engineering, according to Kittredge. Federal and state funds are going into the project.

The bridge, built in 1958, has a superstructure that has reached the end of its useful life and needs more comprehensive work, Kittredge said in a 2014 interview. The superstructure will be replaced.

While most of the viaduct’s piers – which support the load – at first were expected to remain in place and be rehabilitated or repaired, further analysis of construction, engineering and economics has led to a decision to replace all of them.

The reconstructed viaduct will not have additional travel lanes, and should have a life of at least 50 years, according to Kittredge.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

The viaduct that carries U.S. Route 1 over the heart of Bath will be closed later this year for reconstruction.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.