Replacement of Martins Point Bridge on track to begin next year

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PORTLAND — Anyone driving over the Martins Point Bridge recently has noticed several pieces of equipment operating in the water beside the bridge.

“What you’re seeing out in the field right now is the drilling for soil borings for the Supplemental Boring Program,” said Leanne Timberlake of the Maine Department of Transportation. “The information gathered from this round of borings will be shared with the design-build teams for their use in the design of the new Martins Point Bridge.”

The more than 70-year-old bridge that connects Veranda Street in Portland with Route 1 in Falmouth, where the Presumpscot River empties into Casco Bay, is scheduled to be replaced next year.

Timberlake said there are five teams competing to design and build the project.

MDOT’s website lists the five bidders as Cianbro of Pittsfield with national engineering firm AECOM; CPM Constructors of Freeport with national engineering firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin; Prock Marine of Rockland with Florida-based bridge designer FIGG Engineers; Lane Construction of Cheshire, Conn., with international engineering firm URS, and Reed & Reed of Woolwich with international engineers T.Y. Lin.

The teams’ technical and price proposals are due Jan. 25, 2012. MDOT will begin by reviewing the technical proposals, which will be evaluated and scored, Timberlake said. Then, on March 14, 2012, the price proposals will be opened and a “best value score” will determine which of the five teams wins the bid.

The project is estimated to cost between $30 million and $35 million, and is scheduled to begin in the summer or fall of 2012.

Timberlake confirmed that the plan is still to keep the old bridge open to traffic while the new bridge is built. But in order to do that, the contractor will have to place temporary and permanent fill material in the water around the bridge.

MDOT has applied for a permit from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to add the fill, as required by the federal Clean Water Act. The construction will impact nearly an acre of essential fish habitat called tidal benthos and the adjacent tidal marsh.

The application anticipates “temporary turbidity and construction related disturbance.”

The public is welcome to comment on the permit until Nov. 9, by contacting Project Manager Jay Clement at [email protected]

The application will also require approval from the U.S. Coast Guard.

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or [email protected]. Follow her on Twitter: @emilyparkhurst.