The Maine Turnpike Authority reports that a $28 million project that will reconstruct Maine Turnpike’s Exit 45 Interchange in South Portland is scheduled to begin next week.
The Exit 45 Interchange is being reconstructed with additional capacity for future traffic volumes and will relocate toll payment to two new ramp plazas. It also includes a new, higher and wider bridge. The new bridge will be raised to provide a 16.5-foot clearance over the Maine Turnpike.
“When completed, Exit 45 will have a more efficient diamond interchange, a brand new bridge with increased clearance, and ramp toll plazas giving drivers a safer, more fluid connection to the Turnpike,” said Executive Director, Peter Mills. “It is also the last plaza on the Pike to receive tolling system upgrades. Once all the plazas are on the same platform it gives us greater flexibility to enhance our electronic tolling capabilities – all which benefit our customers,” said Mills.
The contract, awarded to CPM Constructors of Freeport, is one of two projects related to the reconstruction efforts. Work on the new Exit 45 Interchange began in the fall of 2019 when the embankment pre-load contract was awarded. This $14.8 million project awarded to Sargent Corporation focused on “pre-loading” the site with gravel and other materials, as well as installing nearly 30,000 wick drains to minimize settlement before beginning construction of the new interchange.
“Because the area around Exit 45 has soils that are mostly clay, building in this environment causes an undesirable amount of settlement. By pre-loading and installing wick drains, we were able to compress the soils by as much as six feet in some locations, and this work has allowed us to start the much-needed reconstruction sooner,” said Chief Operations Officer, Peter Merfeld.
Over the next few weeks, construction crews will begin setting concrete barriers, restriping the roadway, shifting traffic away from the median and mobilizing equipment, followed by some ramp closures in April. The new Interchange is scheduled to be completed by September of 2022. Work on demolition of the existing plaza and old bridge will continue in 2023.
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