Building a Better Gateway

A modernization collaboration between Maine DOT and MTA

Maine’s continued rise in popularity as a destination for families, foodies, and outdoor enthusiasts has led to a rise in back-ups and traffic jams at the state’s southern gateway, a development that doesn’t benefit anyone. Maine Ahead will modernize two of Maine’s iconic entry points, the Piscataqua River Bridge, and the York Toll Plaza, alleviating the problem and providing a more welcoming entry to the state WITHOUT increasing toll prices. When Maine Ahead is finished, both commuters and visitors will breathe a sigh of relief when they crest the bridge and see Maine’s state line sign welcoming them home.

Latest Updates

“Maine Ahead” Virtual Public Meeting – March 24, 2021 6pm

AUGUSTA – The Maine Department of Transportation will be assisting the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and the Maine Turnpike Authority with a virtual public meeting to discuss the ongoing “Maine Ahead” project on the Piscataqua River (I-95) Bridge. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss capacity improvements to the interstate during peak travel times by allowing travel on the low-speed shoulder as needed. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, March 24, 2021 at 6:00 p.m. and will be conducted via Zoom: https://zoom.us/j/95253526733?pwd=S3hiNmhOcS9URlRFaURQZHBubU0xUT09. Presentation materials and the meeting link will be located on the NHDOT website: https://www.nh.gov/dot/projects/portsmouthyork16189b/index.htm.

Bridge Update – 2/26/21

KITTERY – The Maine Department of Transportation and its contracting partners will be closing the left travel lanes on both sides of the Piscataqua River (I-95) Bridge on Sunday, February 28th. Crews will close the left lane on the northbound side at 7:00 p.m. and the left lane on the southbound side at 10:00 p.m. These closures are happening to accommodate work on bridge joints. We expect both left travel lanes will remain closed until the bridge joint work is finished in May.

Additionally, crews will be closing the middle lanes on both the northbound and southbound sides nightly between Sunday, February 28th and Friday, March 5th.

Traffic volumes on the bridge remain down between 20 and 25 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels. That drop in traffic has created safer working conditions for our crews and contractors. Decreased traffic levels have also helped our productivity. We will no longer need to close the northbound Exit 7 on-ramp as originally planned.

We want to remind drivers to pay attention and drive carefully in construction work zones. Lanes are narrower, and our crews are working close to traffic. We continue to appreciate the patience and understanding of the members of the traveling public as we work on these important safety improvements.

Bridge Update – 11/19/20

PORTSMOUTH – As part of the ongoing work to make safety improvements on the Piscataqua River (I-95) Bridge, crews will be closing the Exit 7 northbound on-ramp overnight tonight. The ramp closure is scheduled between 7:00 p.m. tonight and 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. Traffic will be diverted to the signed truck detour route that is currently in place. This closures is necessary to ensure the safety of work crews and the traveling public during a traffic shift.

This bridge work is part of the “Maine Ahead” project, which involves the Maine and New Hampshire Departments of Transportation as well as the Maine Turnpike Authority. The improvements on the Piscataqua River Bridge and at the York Toll Plaza will revitalize Maine’s southern gateway. High-speed tolling will be available in York, and part-time shoulder use will be an option on the bridge.

Drivers should obey work-zone speed limits and be alert and careful while passing our crews. Our primary focus is the safety of both our crews and the traveling public.

Bridge Update – 11/13/20

KITTERY – Work on the Piscataqua River (I-95) Bridge will result in significant lane closures and traffic shifts next week to accommodate median work. This median work is expected to continue until October 2021.

Beginning at 5:30 a.m. on Monday, November 16th, crews will be closing the southbound right travel lane. The contractor will close another lane at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 17th to accommodate a traffic shift. The southbound side will be back open to two lanes by 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday, November 18th. The southbound left travel lane on the bridge will remain closed. Crews will open the bridge to three lanes (closer to the outside edge of the bridge) by 4:00 p.m. on Friday, November 20th.

The northbound right travel lane is already closed. The contractor will close another lane at 10:00 p.m. on Friday, November 20th to accommodate a traffic shift. The northbound side will be back open to two lanes by 7:00 a.m. on Saturday, November 21st. The northbound left travel lane on the bridge will remain closed. Crews will open the bridge to three lanes (closer to the outside edge of the bridge) by 4:00 p.m. on Saturday, November 21st.

Like all outdoor construction work, this schedule is heavily dependent on weather conditions.

This bridge work is part of the “Maine Ahead” project, which also involves the Maine Turnpike Authority and the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. The improvements on the Piscataqua River Bridge and at the York Toll Plaza will revitalize Maine’s southern gateway. High-speed tolling will be available in York, and part-time shoulder use will be an option on the bridge.

Drivers should obey work-zone speed limits and be alert and careful while passing our crews. Our primary focus is the safety of both our crews and the traveling public.

Bridge Update – 10/19/20

Fall is officially here, and with reduced traffic on the Maine Turnpike and the Piscataqua River Bridge, our team can spend more time getting needed repairs accomplished. This means that you might see more lane closures during specific times – always with an eye toward keeping traffic moving as smoothly as possible while also keeping our workers safe. Beginning Monday, October 19th, at 6:00 a.m., the right, northbound travel lane will be closed over the Piscataqua River Bridge to accommodate shoulder widening and paving. This closure is expected to last approximately two to three weeks. Also, please remember to use additional caution at  Exit 7 in New Hampshire as traffic merges onto the bridge.

Plaza Project Update – 4/27/21

Construction Image of Plaza
In the background, Reed & Reed is working on the canopy wiring for the tolling system.

Contractor: Reed & Reed, Inc.

Project Schedule: Completion date June 21, 2021.

Contractor Schedule: 
Reed & Reed crews continue to make progress working on the remaining concrete portions of the north and southbound toll plazas. Their mechanical subcontractors are working on the heating, cooling, and plumbing systems. TransCore, the tolling consultant has been on site working with Reed & Reed electricians to get communication wiring and other tolling equipment integrated into the new facility. Grondin has been grading the median shoulders adjacent to the median concrete barrier in preparation for spring paving. If the weather continues to improve, crews should be paving onsite before the end of April. Along the outsides of the highway, guardrail crews are working on new guardrail and right of way fences.  Given some of the limitations from the pandemic, additional time may be needed for final completion.

Plaza Project Update – 3/19/21

 

Contractor:    Reed & Reed, Inc.

Bid Amount: $ 39,484,431

Project Schedule: Completion date June 21, 2021.

Contractor Schedule:  Reed & Reed crews continue to work on median concrete barrier, toll booths, highway lighting, and tunnel electrical work.  Many highway sign foundations have been installed and will continue to be installed as weather allows. Mechanical contractors are up fitting the booths with heat and air conditioning.  They are also running service lines to these systems as well from the controls inside the tunnel.  TransCore has been installing pieces of the tolling system along side Reed & Reed electricians as they make progress towards integrating and completing the electrical and tolling systems.  Over the next few weeks, they will continue to place concrete and sign foundations.

Plaza Project Update – 2/19/21

Contractor:    Reed & Reed, Inc.

structural steel
North Bound canopy structural steel is in place. Crews should install decking in the near future.

Bid Amount: $ 39,484,431

Percent Complete last approved pay estimate: 80.3 %

Project Schedule: Completion date June 21, 2021.

Contractor Schedule: Reed & Reed’s crews continue to work on median concrete barrier, toll booths, highway lighting, and tunnel electrical work. Many highway sign foundations have been installed and will continue to be installed as weather allows. The earth work sub-contractor has mobilized off the site until spring weather arrives. Mechanical contractors are up fitting the booths with heat and air conditioning and are also running service lines to these systems as well from the controls inside the tunnel. TransCore, the tolling contractor, has been installing pieces of the tolling system alongside Reed & Reed electricians as they make progress towards integrating and completing the electrical and tolling systems. Over the winter months Reed & Reed’s crews and sub-contractors will continue placing concrete around the new toll booths, building the canopies, installing conduits, wiring, lighting, and highway signs. Once warmer weather arrives, crews will shift to finishing the remaining earthwork in preparation for paving the cash lanes.

Plaza Project Update – 1/2/21

Contractor Schedule:  Reed & Reed continue to build the outer cash lanes and booths both north and south bound.  Their electricians continue to run wire and make connections to the new booths and inside the tunnel.  RJ Grondin has been assisting with the cash lane construction, excavating for storm water ponds, and prepping the site for median barrier. Paving should resume in mid-April, if the weather conditions are favorable.  Reed & Reed looks to complete this project by mid-June, depending on the weather conditions this spring.

Toll Plaza Construction

Plaza Project Update – 12/11/20

Contractor:    Reed & Reed, Inc.

Project Schedule: Completion date June 21, 2021.

Contractor Schedule:  Reed & Reed crews swapped over to phase III of the project in mid-October.  Since then, crews have been working in the new work areas.  Reed & Reed forces have been building the outer cash lanes and booths both north and south bound.  They’ve had electricians running wire and making connections to the new booths and the tunnel.  RJ Grondin has been working on removing temporary pavement from phase II, assisting with the cash lane construction, digging trenches for highway lighting conduit, installing median drainage, and prepping the site for median barrier.  Pike Industries recently stopped paving for the year due to winter work restrictions.  Up until then, they had been milling and shimming main line and cash lane locations, bringing the grades and cross slopes up to the new design requirements.  Reed & Reed looks to complete this project by mid-June, if the spring weather is favorable.

Watch the progress!

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