BRUNSWICK, Maine — A controversial bridge replacement and a Route 1 traffic fix that has been the subject of a half-century conflict top the Maine Department of Transportation’s midcoast to-do list over the next three years.
The plan released earlier this month by the Department of Transportation includes $14.9 million to replace the Frank J. Wood Bridge between Brunswick and Topsham, $14.56 million in improvements at Brunswick Executive Airport, and a $5 million traffic improvement project in Wiscasset — which has stalled pending a lawsuit filed by the town.
The overall plan would cost more than $2.3 billion, with more than 1,100 projects slated for 2018 alone.
Over three years, the plan includes $511.1 million in capital projects, $67.6 million to build and rehabilitate 48 miles of highway, $115.8 million to pave nearly 1,000 miles, and $118.8 for more than 100 bridge projects.
Here are the highlights:
Replacement of the Frank J. Wood Bridge, which carries Route 201 over the Androscoggin River between Brunswick and Topsham, is among projects slated for 2019-2020, at an expected cost of $14.9 million.
Brunswick Executive Airport, at the former Brunswick Naval Air Station, is slated to receive $14.56 million in renovations and upgrades, including $4.12 million in airport safety and infrastructure improvements, $3.09 million for construction of an itinerant box hangar and $1.13 million for construction of a T-hangar, $2.06 million for installation of solar power in two hangars, $1.29 million for electrical improvements and $1.13 million for wildlife fencing.
Other notable projects in Brunswick include replacement of the deck on the bridge that carries Maine Street over Route 1 ($1.4 million), construction of auxiliary turning lanes at Route 1 and Stanwood Street ($1.35 million) and $1 million for safety improvements on Interstate 295.
Also included in the plan is a $5 million traffic improvement project planned in downtown Wiscasset. The plan, designed to alleviate traffic back-ups along Main Street — or Route 1 — has been stymied by a lawsuit filed by Wiscasset residents who allege the Maine Department of Transportation shifted federal money from the project to skirt historic requirements, among other issues.
The Wiscasset Airport is scheduled to see $4.38 million of improvements, including easement acquisition and reconstruction of a runway to include obstruction removal and fencing.
Reconstruction of the intersection of Route 1 and State Road is slated, at a cost of $1.32 million.
Other notable projects in the southern midcoast area include:
— $8.08 million to replace the Barters Island Bridge on Barters Island Road over Back River in Boothbay.
— $2.7 million to replace Thompsons Bridge, which carries Route 238 over Decker Cove in Southport.
— $2.28 million to pave nearly 4 miles of Route 1 from Woolwich to Wiscasset.
— $2.25 million to replace the Route 1 bridge over the Cousins River between Freeport and Yarmouth.
— $1.65 million for preliminary engineering for improvements to the Route 1-Route 27 intersection in Edgecomb.
— $1.86 million to reconstruct a portion of Route 125 in Lisbon.
— $1.72 million to pave 3.9 miles of Route 1 from Waldoboro to near the Warren town line.
— $563,164 to replace the footbridge and town landing in Boothbay Harbor.
Also included is $1 million for improvements to Interstate 295, specifically north of Portland, where the Department of Transportation states “crash incidence is high.”
In his introduction to the work plan, Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt names the work on I-295 among nine specific initiatives designed to attack trends that show increased numbers of vehicle crashes, injuries and fatalities on the roads, an increase in highway death and a “marked” increase in motorcycle fatalities in the state, as well as nearly double the number of pedestrian fatalities in Maine during the past four years.
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