BANGOR, Maine — The Ohio Street bridge in Bangor that passes over I-95 is now closed, so demolition and eventual reconstruction can begin.
The Maine Department of Transportation is replacing this bridge, since it is about 60 years old and approaching the end of its useful life. The project costs about $5.9 million, and the new bridge is expected to be open by September 2020.
During demolition and construction, local traffic (including both cars and pedestrians) will be detoured. The vehicle detour redirects cars to Union Street, and the foot detour redirects pedestrians down Fifteenth and over to Sixteenth Street.
The construction company working on the bridge is T Buck Construction. The project manager, Brian Emmons said to be patient with his staff as the construction is underway.
"Follow the detour signs, be patient and if there's any major concerns get in touch with us," he said.
Once the bridge opens, there will be alternating one-way traffic with flaggers, until the project is completed in November 2020.
Paul Merrill, Public Information Officer for the Maine Department of Transportation, says his team has done the best they can to let people know their commutes may look a bit different, starting in February.
"We do our best to make sure that folks know well in advance that there's a project; there's a closure; and there's a detour," Merrill told NEWS CENTER Maine over the phone. "We also want people to know that we need to do this work because the bridge is in need of replacement for safety, for cost. We crunched the numbers, and it just makes sense to replace this one."
The project may also impact the interstate. Complete interstate closures (either northbound or southbound) will be allowed Monday through Thursday between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. There will be no interstate closures during busy travel months, like July and August.
"Northbound interstate traffic will be detoured using Union Street, Griffin Road, and Broadway. Southbound interstate traffic will be detoured using Broadway, Griffin Road, and Ohio Street," Merrill said. "Drivers should expect frequent partial and full closures of the interstate until the Ohio Street bridge is demolished."
Merrill added he expects demolition work to be finished by the middle of April.
The bridge, like many others as part of the interstate system, was built in the 1950's. As a result, it's nearing its end at about 60 years old. The new bridge will provide for an addition 18 inches of space for vehicles traveling on the interstate. It will also ad a turning lane on Ohio Street for vehicles turning onto the ramp to travel southbound on I-95.
The Maine DOT has a list of more than 1,300 projects scheduled for the next three years. Ranging in location, and size.
From Allagash to York, and from large projects like this one, to simple paving projects.
The Maine DOT is using some precast concrete bridge substructure elements during construction to speed up the process and minimize its impact on people traveling.
"Bridge design has come a long way in the past several decades. Some of the material we're using on the new Ohio Street bridge is non-corrosive material," Merrill said. "We hope that this next structure will last longer than the 60 years of the original structure. Like I said, things have come a long way, and we hope that this replacement will be pushing 100 years before we ever need to consider another replacement."
The schedule for the entire project is:
- February 11, 2020 – Overnight lane shifts on I-95 begin
- February 24, 2020 – Ohio Street bridge closes for demolition
- April 22, 2020 – New bridge construction begins
- June 30, 2020 – Overnight paving work on I-95 begins
- August 31, 2020 – New Ohio Street bridge opens
- October 30, 2020 – Estimated project completion date
Click here for a copy of the complete project overview from the public hearing.