Cars have crawled on Route 115 to routes 202 and 302 in Windham for the past three weeks during bridge repairs. Kristen McNerney / Lakes Region Weekly

UPDATE: Windham Public Works announced Thursday that both lanes of Route 115 have been reopened.

Routine bridge repairs that have fueled frustration, traffic jams and reckless driving on Route 115 in Windham are expected to be completed next week.

Since July 26, only an eastbound lane on the heavily traveled Narrows Bridge has been open with westbound traffic detoured down Falmouth Road and Route 202 and back up Route 302 to get to North Windham.

Maine DOT, doing joint work on the bridge, expects the construction will be done the week of Aug. 16, according to DOT spokesperson Paul Merrill.

The detour for westbound traffic was the best choice during the bridge work, he said.

“Our traffic engineers determined that an alternating single-lane traffic pattern would create too much backup given the proximity of traffic lights to the bridge,” he said.

But a number of the drivers of the 12,000 vehicles who use that stretch of road daily, according to the DOT, say they have been inconvenienced nonetheless.

Windham Police Chief Kevin Schofield said the department has received “more than several complaints and concerns about the traffic pattern.”

Quite a few more than several drivers took to the Windham Maine Community Board on Facebook to air their grievances. Dozens took to social media to complain.

“Mid-summer and they decide to shut down 115,” Sean Petty posted on July 26.

Others expressed concerns about drivers not obeying the detour.

“This car is waiting to race through the construction,” Kim Mentzinger posted on Aug. 8. with a photo of a car appearing to attempt to go around a barrier reading “road closed.”

Schofield said the police department has also been asking drivers not to use Varney Mill Road off Falmouth Road to cut the detour short. Cars have been speeding on Varney Mill Road even before the bridge construction started, Schofield cited cars speeding on the road even before the construction on 115.

Speed radar signs have been set up on Varney Mill Road since the detours, Schofield said, and a sign at the intersection of Falmouth Road and Varney Mill Road advises local traffic only for the latter residential street.

…”To the guy in the black truck (2 cars behind me) at 7:30 this morning on Varney Mill Road right next to the 35 mph sign (who) passed me going really fast on a double yellow line, please be patient!!,” Jeanne Denbow said Facebook on Aug. 10.

DOT classifies Route 115 “as a minor arterial,” said Windham Public Works Director Douglas Fortier.

“That said, it is a busy road,” Fortier added.”

 

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