The Maine Department of Transportation will take advantage of light traffic on Interstate 295 to complete more daytime construction work on highway bridges in Portland.

In March, the department began repairs on bridge joints on the southbound lanes of I-295 between Tukey’s Bridge and the Fore River bridge. With traffic 60 percent lower than normal, contractors could work during the day and close travel lanes and ramps, so the project was cheaper and took less time, the department said.

MDOT will now start repairs on northbound parts of Tukey’s Bridge, and those at Franklin and Preble streets and Forest Avenue. The work will start May 11, and one lane of traffic will be closed on the northbound side of the highway through May 21, the department said.

Prior to coronavirus restrictions, traffic in the area was too heavy to close travel lanes or safely do daytime work, said Wayne Frankhauser, the head of Maine’s bridge program. Instead, it planned to do work at night, which is slower and far more expensive.

But a sustained low level of traffic over the past month, as many Mainers stayed home or drove around far less, now means the department can get more done.

“The southbound work has been successful, so we are certainly trying to take advantage of traffic volumes being down while we can,” he said.


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