On October 3rd, a MaineDOT maintenance worker discovered the south exterior beam of the Ramp F Bridge over I-95 had been struck by a vehicle causing significant damage. There is currently a partial crack in the southern beam. Barrels have been placed along the south shoulder of the bridge to keep traffic off the damaged area.
Another recent hit has damaged the north exterior beam of the same bridge but to a lesser extent. MaineDOT personnel will continue to monitor the damage on both sides of the bridge to ensure it remains safe under legal loads.
On Saturday, October 28th, MaineDOT crews will work to pave and alter striping patterns. Motorists should expect slight delays.
This bridge carries two-way traffic as part of the I-95 Exit 109 interchange as well as I-95 southbound traffic accessing Western Avenue headed east to the downtown and the Capitol complex. It also supports Western Avenue traffic bound for I-95 south.
Drivers are advised to find alternate routes. For more information and to sign up for email alerts, please visit mainedot.gov
MaineDOT has been investigating what may have caused this damage with little success to date. Anyone with any information is asked to call MaineDOT's Legal Division at (207) 624-3020.
Construction materials act differently under cold temperatures. Although the bridge is currently safe for all legal loads, the Department feels it is prudent to remove one lane of traffic from the bridge before cold weather arrives and then remove all traffic from the bridge so that construction of a new bridge may move as quickly as possible. The following is a plan to move quickly, while maintaining public safety and minimizing impacts to our customers.
Short Term - Beginning Monday, October 30th all I-95, Exit 109, south bound traffic destined for Western Avenue in Augusta will be directed off Exit 109B onto Western Avenue westbound. Traffic wanting to head east on Western Avenue will need to proceed westerly to access one of the reverse direction loops at Edison Drive or Old Winthrop Road. During this period, travelers will be advised to seek alternate routes as much as possible.
Mid Term - In three to five weeks, using accelerated contracting methods, a new set of temporary ramps will be built from Exit 109A onto Whitten Road. Travelers will then access Western Avenue from the Whitten Road Intersection. Exit 109B will resume as before serving westbound Western Avenue travel to Manchester, Winthrop, etc. Travelers wanting to access I-95 southbound from Western Avenue will do so from Whitten Road.
Permanent Solution - When considering the significant effort, cost and traffic impacts associated with repairing the existing bridge, coupled with a strong likelihood of continued damage due to "over height" strikes, MaineDOT is working rapidly to develop and execute plans to replace the entire Ramp F bridge superstructure. As part of replacing the superstructure, we will increase the "under clearance" by over a foot to reduce the potential of future impacts and to be consistent with the clearances achieved with recent bridge projects over Interstate 95.
The Department plans to implement accelerated construction techniques to have a new bridge in place before spring of 2018. However, that could be affected by the type of winter weather before us.
MaineDOT will also be installing an over-height load warning system to protect other bridges, such as the overpass carrying Western Avenue over I-95.