A seven-mile stretch of Interstate 295 north of Portland will be subject to daytime lane and ramp closures for more than a month as the state makes safety improvements to the accident-prone section of highway.

Traffic already has been reduced to one lane daily in each direction on I-295 in Falmouth and Cumberland, according to the Maine Department of Transportation.

During the project, there also will be temporary closures of ramps that connect I-295, the Falmouth Spur and Route 1. The $3.3 million project is expected to wrap up by July 3. A nearby $1.1 million paving and guardrail project on the Falmouth Spur is scheduled to be completed by May 22.

The interstate highway north of Portland is at times congested, unreliable and unsafe. In a 2018 report, Maine DOT outlined ways to improve the highway, such as by adding pull-off areas for disabled vehicles and lengthening approach ramps so drivers can merge into traffic more safely.

Seven paved emergency pull-off areas, four on the northbound side and three on the southbound side, will be installed. The on-ramps at Exit 15 in Cumberland and Exit 17 in Yarmouth will be extended.

Maine DOT has taken advantage of low traffic during the coronavirus pandemic to perform extra daytime road construction, which is cheaper and faster than the nighttime work typically required on busy roads.

Traffic on state roads is down by more than 40 percent on average from the same period last year, according to Maine DOT.

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