AUGUSTA – All the funding is in place to bring Exit 113 on Interstate 95 from half an interchange to a full one.

The last piece came in the form of a $1.2 million grant from the federal government. Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, announced the award Friday while standing at the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care, one of the MaineGeneral facilities motorists will find easier to access via the new ramps.

Next door while Collins spoke, earth was being moved for MaineGeneral Medical Center’s new 192-bed regional hospital.

Collins’ announcement came eight months after two bills that would have funded the work died in Congress. Collins had earmarked $4 million in a Senate bill while U.S. Rep. Chellie Pingree, D-1st District, had designated $1 million in a House bill.

The $1.2 million grant comes from the Federal Highway Administration’s Transportation and Community and System Preservation program.

Collins thanked those who collaborated on the grant application, including state and local officials as well as hospital and business executives.

She praised the funding influx as a public-private partnership and said it will spark economic development in the form of job creation.

She said there were 715 applications submitted nationally, and the Exit 113 project was one of 19 projects to receive more than $1 million.

Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt cited a conference call months ago that helped cement support for the project.

He said the improvements will relieve congestion and mitigate three high-crash locations in the city, while offering access to retail and office space in addition to the hospital facilities.

“A lot of stars had to get lined up to make this happen,” said state Sen. Roger Katz, R-Augusta, who worked on the city’s end of the project as mayor.

In a statement, Collins said, “This funding will help provide full north and southbound access to I-95 — and connections to Routes 3 and 27 — making the future site of the new MaineGeneral Medical Center fully accessible.”

Kennebec Journal Staff Writer Betty Adams can be contacted at 621-5631 or at:

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