The Bucknam Road overpass in Falmouth is one of bridges over I-295 scheduled for replacement by the DOT in the next three years. Chance Viles / Forecaster

Local communities will receive over $78 million in bridge repairs over the next three years, according to the Maine Department of Transportation.

Of 166 bridge projects statewide, 19 major projects will get underway in Portland, Yarmouth, North Yarmouth, Falmouth, South Portland, Gorham, Windham and Freeport. Bridges over 20 feet are owned by the state.

“Anytime we see work from DOT with state funds we are very happy,” Portland Public Works Director Christopher Branch said.

Specific timeline and details are still being worked out, along with final costs, but for the most part, the state will foot the bill. Towns will contribute funding if they want additional amenities. Yarmouth, for example, will chip in for bike lanes on two projects there.

Branch said the repairs in Portland are overdue.

“There is a huge need, but not just here, around the state,” Branch said.

The state has pushed for more federal funding, he said, but so have states nationwide. 

“We have our fingers crossed the new presidency will come in with a new infrastructure program that will help,” Branch said.

The state is continuing to advocate for more federal funding for infrastructure improvements, said Sen. Cathy Breen, D-Falmouth, who is chairperson of the  Appropriations and Financial Affairs committees in the state Senate.

“The time is ripe to develop a comprehensive funding program that maintains existing transportation infrastructure, provides incentives to reduce the use of fossil fuels and promotes convenient public transit options in densely populated areas like southern Maine,” Breen said. “We need leadership at both the federal and state levels to make this happen.”

According to Maine DOT’s three-year plan released at the end of January, the state would need an additional $230 million per year on top of its roughly $100 million yearly budget to meet all of Maine’s transportation infrastructure needs. That figure comes from a nonpartisan Blue Ribbon Commission made up of legislators, transportation professionals and other stakeholders, DOT said.

Portland

I-295 overpasses in the northbound lane between Portland and South Portland will get $5.4 million in repairs. Further details were not available.

“That’ll help our traffic flow and keep it smoother. Any work on 295 is important,” Branch said.

Bridge repairs on Little Diamond Island estimated at $80,000 will take place later this year. 

Yarmouth

Yarmouth has four upcoming state bridge projects: the Route 1 bridge over Cousins River is slated for $6.1 million in repairs in 2022-2023; the I-295 overpass by northbound exit 15, $8.5 million, in 2022; the Bayview Street I-295 overpass near exit 17, $11.2 million, this year; and 0.2 miles north of Bayview, another exit 17 overpass for $12.3 million, this year.

The town expects to contribute about $100,000 in total for the overpasses near exit 17 for bike lanes.

“Those bridges over 295 are in pretty rough shape and need replacing and are being entirely replaced down to the foundation,” said Town Engineer Steve Johnson. “We’ve been talking with DOT about these for years.”

North Yarmouth 

North Yarmouth has two bridge projects: repairs to Hays Mill Bridge, about a mile east of Gray Road, estimated to cost $65,000 and scheduled for this year; and repairs to the Walnut Hill Bridge, $540,000, 2022-2023.

Falmouth

Cars travel over the Bucknam Road overpass in Falmouth, which will be replaced this year. Chance Viles / American Journal

Falmouth’s two bridge projects will be done this year. The Bucknam Road  I-295 overpass will be replaced at a cost of $7.8 million and the Johnson Road overpass will be repaired for $5.4 million.

“A center turn lane on the new Bucknam Road bridge along with town funded intersection improvements at Bucknam, Middle and Falmouth roads will be a nice improvement on all of Bucknam Road,” Town Manager Nathan Poore said.

South Portland

This year, the I-295 overpass about a mile north of Route 701 and another over Route 9 by Westbrook Street will be re-painted, totaling $700,000.

Gorham 

The Mitchell Hill Road bridge will be replaced in 2022-2023 for $1.1 million, and the Newt Bridge over Gully Brook will see minor fixes for $75,000 later this year.

Windham

The Narrows Bridge over Ditch Brook will receive maintenance this year for $150,000.

Freeport 

In Freeport, the Route 125 approach road interchange bridge will be replaced this year for  $7.2 million. The Desert Road/Merrill Road bridge will also be replaced for $8 million.

In 2022 to 2023, Freeport will see improvements to the Route 1 railroad crossing bridge for $3.5 million, and the Old County Road bridge will see a surface replacement for $350,000.

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