A $2.7 million project to replace a heavily used bridge between Kennebunk and Kennebunkport has started and will impact traffic in the area until Memorial Day.

The Maine Department of Transportation is building a new Mathew J. Lanigan Bridge in stages to accommodate tourism in the area. The bridge connects Lower Village Kennebunk and Kennebunkport and is heavily traveled by cars and pedestrians.

The new bridge will be wider and include 6-foot wide sidewalks on each side. There will be a cantilevered viewing outlook on each side of the bridge, giving pedestrians views up and down the Kennebunk River. Construction began Dec. 26 and is expected to be completed by Memorial Day.

Route 9 traffic over the bridge will be reduced to one lane of alternating traffic through March 4. Temporary traffic signals have been installed to regulate traffic movement so the contractor can begin work on the upstream side of the embankment across the street from the Clam Shack, according to the Maine Department of Transportation.

The bridge and Route 9 in the area will be completely closed from March 5 to mid-April. This period will allow the contractor to complete the majority of the work at an accelerated pace, according to the DOT.

In mid-April, the bridge will return to one lane of alternating traffic until the project is completed before Memorial Day.

The bridge is named for Mathew Lanigan, who was a Kennebunkport selectman and prominent business owner before his death in 2012 at age 48. He was a longtime supporter of the town’s annual Christmas Prelude and owned The Emporium in downtown Kennebunkport for 17 years.

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