AUGUSTA — Two new roundabouts opened Monday in north Augusta, allowing drivers to travel across the northern part of the capital city along Route 3, cross Interstate 95 and reach Civic Center Drive.
Drivers could also get off I-95 at exit 113 and head directly to MaineGeneral Medical Center’s new regional hospital, the Alfond Center for Health, without taking a detour. However, the clinical functions of the hospital — including in-patient services — are not scheduled to open until Nov. 9. The new regional hospital is adjacent to the Harold Alfond Center for Cancer Care which had been open since July 2007.
The new network of roads has been under construction since early this year. The project is not completely finished, however.
Department of Transportation spokesman Ted Talbot and project engineer Shawn Smith say more work remains and urge motorists to use caution and be alert to the new traffic patterns.
On Monday, a new traffic signal was in operation at the intersections of Route 3 and Civic Center Drive. A second one at Medical Center Parkway is scheduled to be operational in the next few days. Currently it is set to flashing mode.
The $13 million road improvement project was aimed at allowing exit 113 to function in all directions and to connect Route 3 with Civic Center Drive, thus decreasing traffic congestion at exit 112.
“The southbound roundabout is located on the west side of the interstate, where I-95 southbound on and off-ramps connect with Old Belgrade Road and Route 3,” Talbot said in an emailed release. “The northbound roundabout is located on the east side of the interstate where I-95 on and off-ramps connect with Route 3 at this location.”
Talbot said the state is planning a ribbon-cutting ceremony 11 a.m. Nov. 4 on the project site.
Yet to be completed are a trail for bicycles and pedestrians along the Old Belgrade Road corridor, as well as a spur with cul-de-sac to allow some Old Belgrade Road residents access to their properties, according to Talbot.
Augusta has two other rotaries, Memorial and Cony circles, which flank the Kennebec River downtown.