Work has resumed on River Road in Windham, this time with a focus on improving drainage. Emily Bader / Lakes Region Weekly

WINDHAM — Construction along River Road resumed this week as the Maine Department of Transportation begins the next phase of a multi-year, multi-million-dollar project.

Drivers can expect some delays along the 3.07-mile stretch of River Road from the Westbrook line to the intersection with Depot Street and Chute Road. The speed limit will be 35 mph in the construction zone and there will be some alternating one-way traffic, according to project manager Ernie Martin of Maine DOT.

The project manager says cars shouldn’t typically be delayed more than five minutes. Emily Bader / Lakes Region Weekly

“It’s five minutes, but sometimes it might jump over that depending on what the situation is out there,” Martin said of the anticipated delays for motorists. “A contractor has an opportunity to work sunrise to sunset, so they can be out there working from the a.m. peak time to the p.m. peak time, but they can see the traffic during (those times) and manage things on their own.”

This phase of the project will focus on improving drainage along the road, as well as work on utility lines.

Maine DOT is continuing to work with Shaw Brothers Construction, the Gorham firm that won the $8.46 million bid. Work began last July with excavations near the intersection of River and Anderson roads.

That excavation accompanied an archaeological dig at Fort Province, a historic fort that was built in 1744 by the Province of Massachusetts. The dig was completed at the beginning of October of last year.

Arthur Spiess, a senior archaeologist with the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, said in a memo that “indispensable information about the fort structure, and some fort artifacts, were recovered by the process of excavating each lane in turn, then removing the road fill down to the fort level,” and noted that the fort will likely retain its National Register status, which it has held since 1973.

Martin said that this next phase of the project will have no effect on the completed fieldwork nor the fort site.

The River Road project has an expected completion date of June 19, 2021, and that drivers can expect construction along River Road Monday through Saturday for the remainder of the year.

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