Bridges, ramps due for work, traffic delays

Lots of things coming up for Portland area and York County motorists in the coming days. Today, drivers using the Casco Bay Bridge may have noticed strange warning gate raisings and lowerings across the southbound lane, where crews were checking the gate alignments. The workers blocked traffic in the form of multiple 10-minute closures throughout the day. Well, that’s going to happen tomorrow as well.

Here’s the first of three announcements from the Maine Department of Transportation:

Tomorrow, (Tue 3/27) crews will work on the warning gates in the opposite direction, from South Portland into Portland, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Once again, multiple 10 minute closures are expected as workers lower the gates to properly align them for the safety of travelers. Marine traffic will not be affected by this work either day.

Here’s the second, regarding long-awaited (so to speak) ramp closures leading into months of work on Interstate 295 bridges through Portland and South Portland:

Maine’s recent warm, dry weather has allowed contractors to get a head start on this year’s $7.9 million bridge rehabilitation project on Interstate 295.

MaineDOT has announced that construction crews will close two of Portland’s I-295 northbound on-ramps on Tuesday, March 27, at the Congress Street interchange. The two ramps, the Park Avenue and Congress Street on-ramps, will be closed for the duration of work at this location. Off-ramps there will remain open.

Recommended alternative routes include using the Fore River Parkway, Forest Avenue, or Franklin Street on-ramps to join I-295 northbound.

Drivers are urged to visit MaineDOT’s website at for more details including maps, updates, and to sign up for email alerts. The website also features eight webcams, updated every five minutes, offering both northbound and southbound views of I-295. Motorists can now check for possible traffic congestion before they head out onto the Interstate.

While highway work is always weather dependent, MaineDOT estimates that the bridge work will be done in September and night paving operations will finish up in October. MaineDOT appreciates the patience of all motorists during this construction period, and also asks motorists to drive safely through all work zones.

Finally, the third announcement regards structural deterioration of Sarah Mildred Long Bridge, which carries Route 1 across to New Hampshire from Kittery:

Recent in-depth inspections on the Sarah Mildred Long Bridge have revealed accelerated structural deterioration of the bridge railing.

Due to concerns about the crash worthiness of the bridge rail system, and in order to ensure public safety, the New Hampshire and Maine Departments of Transportation are developing an emergency project to install a temporary steel barrier along both sides of the entire 2,800 foot length of the Sarah Long Bridge. It is anticipated that the barrier will be placed on the concrete bridge deck in front of the curb and railing along the existing shoulders of the bridge.

In the interim, traffic barrels will be placed along the shoulders to caution motorists until a project to install the temporary barrier can be developed. It is anticipated that the temporary barrier will be constructed in six to eight weeks.

The Sarah Long Bridge carries the Route 1 Bypass over the Piscataqua River between Portsmouth, New Hampshire and Kittery, Maine.

Seth Koenig

About Seth Koenig

Seth has nearly a decade of professional journalism experience and writes about the greater Portland region.