Cars travel on the Maine Turnpike. Credit: CBS 13

Drivers will see major construction along the Maine turnpike this summer, and some is already underway.

These projects are predicted to take several years to complete.

The Piscataqua River Bridge, which connects Maine to New Hampshire and is the busiest bridge in the state, will be the focus of a nearly $50 million project to extend the useful life of the bridge, according to the Maine Turnpike Authority.

“Getting out of Maine on a Sunday afternoon in the summer, always, well not always, but when the sun is out and we have lots of traffic it’s a big deal,” MTA Executive Director Peter Mills said.

While the Maine and New Hampshire Departments of Transportation are leading the project, the turnpike authority will contribute just over $9 million.

Mills said the cost of the bridge is more than anyone expected.

“The labor market is extremely tight and this will tie up a great deal of labor for a long time for say around three years,” Mills said. “And there’s heavy traffic so it is a difficult working environment.”

Mills said construction shouldn’t have a huge effect on travelers until after the summer season.

“We are very interested in keeping it good condition and to avoid major traffic impact with a project like this,” Mills said.

Mills said there will be turnpike construction this summer, with some lanes in Portland in need of widening.

“In order to do it we have to widen several bridges and lengthen those bridges … It’s a lot of work to be done but it’s time,” Mills said.

Some bridge work is already underway in Portland, which officials said will take three years to complete.