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No Traffic Jam? Maine and New Hampshire officials are hopeful tech will ease congestion during project

A new $8 million monitoring project to help keep traffic flowing during some of the most difficult parts of the Maine/New Hampshire bridge project

ELLIOT, Maine — EDITORS NOTE: The above video was published in November of 2019. Maine DOT officials discussed what the project could mean for Mainers. 

Maine and New Hampshire transportation departments are rolling out the tech to keep motorists moving during the resurfacing of the Interstate 95 bridge that connects the two states. 

Workers will be finishing most of a major overhaul of the Piscataqua River bridge this fall. The tech project begins after that, Charles Blackman, intelligent transportation systems engineer for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation, told the Associated Press

Blackman told the Associated Press, more cameras and sensors are being installed on the bridge to detect slowdowns and speed a response to delays as engineers have the option of opening the shoulders to travel during times of congestion.

“The more we know about how traffic flowing at any given moment, the faster we can react and quickly convey information to travelers to improve safety and mobility,” said Paul Merrill, spokesperson for the Maine Department of Transportation, to the Associated Press. 

Merrill told the Associated Press, the $53 million rehab project began in the spring of 2019 and should be completed by late spring 2022. Merrill told the AP that drivers should expect many lane closures this summer.

Blackman told the AP the bridge currently accommodates 4,500 vehicles per hour with three lanes in each direction.

He said when the breakdown lanes are open, the highway can handle about 5,500 vehicles in each direction.

Blackman told the AP that the $8 million project, at its peak, will use 10 sensors and approximately 20 cameras relaying information to project leaders. Both Maine and New Hampshire DOTs are sharing the cost of the project.

Final repaving takes place in May 2022. The tech project is due to be completed by May 2023.

ORIGINAL STORY