WINDHAM — Officials from the Maine Department of Transportation will hold a final public meeting March 8 to discuss a proposed highway reconstruction and bridge replacement project on a more than 3-mile stretch of River Road in Windham. 

The estimated $6.4 million project is expected to begin in the fall of 2018, said senior project manager Ernie Martin.

The meeting will include various presentations on the project designs, the historical and archaeological elements of the area, the right-of-way process, and the Colley Wright Brook bridge replacement that was added to the proposal, Martin said. He acknowledged that the addition of the bridge rebuild, just north of Willow Road, has slowed the project somewhat. 

Stressing that MDOT is looking for local input on the proposal, Martin said that the department will, “take those final comments, review them,” and then see if tweaks need to be made to the plan based on the public feedback. 

The stretch of River Road in question runs from the Westbrook Town Line and extends 3.07 miles north in Windham, almost to Route 202. That section of road cuts through an historic part of the town, which includes several 18th-century homes such as the Parson Smith house, the Elder house and the Anderson/Lord house. 

Windham Town Manager Tony Plante mentioned the upcoming MDOT meeting at the Feb. 28 Town Council meeting, and said afterwards that he was looking forward to the update from MDOT about the plan, and for Windham residents to have a chance to weigh in on the proposal. 

According to Martin, 80 percent of the funding for the River Road proposal comes from federal dollars. The other 20 percent is state funding. 

This project is the second phase of a larger River Road rebuild. The initial phase focused on the stretch of road from Route 202 north to Page Road. Martin hopes that local residents, “already have an idea what the process can be like,” based on the first phase. 

The public meeting is being held to,”listen to concerns, receive comments, and answer questions from anyone with an interest in the project,” MDOT said.

“The department is particularly interested in learning local views relative to project consistency with local comprehensive plans, discovering local resources, and identifying local concerns and issues,” it said.

The public meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 8. The event is from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Windham High School’s Performing Arts Center Auditorium. The address is 406 Gray Road. 

Matt Junker can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 123 or [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @MattJunker.

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