Preliminary work to improve southbound lanes of Interstate 295 in Greater Portland will begin Wednesday.

The $12.2 million project will involve an 11.5-mile stretch from the Maine Turnpike spur in Falmouth to the end of I-295 at the tollbooths in Scarborough.

It will include the milling and paving of lanes, resurfacing of 18 bridges, bridge repairs as needed, safety improvements around Exit 7 and the installation of guardrails in the median.

The Maine Department of Transportation aims to keep two lanes of traffic open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Paving work is scheduled from 7 p.m. Sunday to 6 a.m. Saturday. Single lanes may be closed during those times.

Bridge work will be done on weekdays and weekends. Two lanes are expected to stay open during daylight, with a few exceptions. Work such as bridge truss installation will require traffic stops for about 15 minutes in the middle of the night.

On-ramps and exits may be closed overnight, with specific schedules to be released as the closures near. Portland’s Veranda Street on-ramp will be subject to an extended closure.

As many as 40,000 vehicles a day use the section of the highway where the work will be done, with the busiest portion around Tukeys Bridge in Portland, said Bradford Foley, highway program manager for the DOT.

“The work itself is very straightforward. The complication is that there are so many vehicles that go through there every day,” Foley said. “Basically, if they commute between the hours of 6 a.m. and 7 p.m., they really shouldn’t have too much of an impact.”

Updates about the project will be posted online at mainedot.gov. Drivers can sign up for e-mail updates on the website.

On Wednesday, crews will start putting up signs and doing drainage work off the roadway, Foley said. It will be a week or two before the work zones are set up, he said.

The paving is expected to be finished in late September, with the remaining details completed by mid-December.

The contract was awarded to The Lane Construction Corp., which is based in Connecticut and works in more than 20 states a year. The company employs more than 550 Maine workers during the construction season and operates more than 12 facilities in northern and central Maine, according to the DOT.

Another project is under way on a northbound section of I-295.

The $8.4 million project, under a contract awarded to Pike Industries, covers the 12 miles from the Portland-Falmouth border to Freeport.

Although the stretch of highway is slightly longer than the southbound project, the budget is smaller and the time frame is shorter because only five bridges are involved. The work is expected to be done by the end of October.

Foley said the transportation department has been coordinating its projects with the Maine Turnpike Authority. The work on I-295 isn’t expected to affect turnpike traffic, said Bruce Pelletier, a spokesman for the authority.

 

Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at: [email protected]