PORTLAND — The Maine Department of Transportation is beginning a $12.2 million highway improvement project on southbound Interstate 295 this week.
The work will stretch from approximately Exit 10 in Falmouth to the turnpike entrance in Scarborough, and include adding lanes and traffic signals at Exit 7 in Portland.
The DOT began work on northbound lanes north of Portland about a month ago.
While most of the paving will happen overnight to minimize impact on traffic, bridge work is scheduled to take place during the day and on weekends, which means drivers should expect single-lane closures from now until the work wraps up in December.
“The 18 bridges make it complicated,” said Brad Foley, highway project manager for the DOT. He said the improvements also include truss work, new signs and guardrail replacements. Lane Construction Corp., of Connecticut, has been hired for the project.
In Portland, some exits will be temporarily closed as work progresses. Foley said the Veranda Street on-ramp will have an extended closure.
At Exit 7, the Franklin Street interchange, additional lanes will be added at the ramps to alleviate traffic backups onto the highway. The third travel lane, which currently ends north of the Exit 7 southbound off-ramp, will also be extended, so vehicles don’t have to merge prior to getting off.
Foley said a traffic signal will be added at the end of the northbound off-ramp to improve traffic flow. David Lycette, a DOT traffic engineer, said sensors will be installed near the top of the off-ramp so the timing of the light can automatically adjust to traffic.
Foley said as many as 30,000 vehicles travel through the Franklin Arterial/Marginal Way intersection daily.
While the DOT will not install a connector pedestrian path from Marginal Way under I-295 to Back Cove – something bike and pedestrian advocates have been pushing for – they will leave room for the path to be constructed in the future.
The DOT is encouraging people to sign up for traffic e-mail alerts. To do so, go to mainedot.gov and select the 295 Greater Portland Interstate Project link, under Major Transportation Projects. Construction updates will also be posted on the website.
Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or firstname.lastname@example.org
This Maine DOT map shows southbound lane paving and bridge work scheduled to begin this week. Northbound work is already in progress.