Road resurfacing on I-295 in the Portland area is one of a dozen planned transportation projects scuttled because the state cannot keep up with rising transportation costs.
Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) Commissioner Bruce Van Note says that with costs coming in at 30 percent higher than they were last year, MaineDOT has had to cancel the projects. In some cases, the figure was much higher: For example, the I-295 project was expected to cost $10 million, but bids came in around $19 million.
Overall, MaineDOT is cancelling around $59 million worth of infrastructure improvement.
According to mainepublic.org, Van Note says a shortage of workers is the main issue.
The safety of people and vehicles that use the roads, bridges and other transportation infrastructure was the prime factor in deciding which projects to cancel, Van Note said.
The aborted projects include:
- Also in Portland, the resurfacing of India Street.
- Replacing the I-95 bridge in Bangor.
- Fixing parts of Trafton Road in Waterville.
- Reconstructing about 3 miles of Route 6 in Abbot.
- Replacing Goose River and Sheldon bridges in Belfast.
- Replacing Taylor Brook Bridge in Auburn.
- Replacing Twin Bridge in Hamden.
- Reconstructing almost 3 miles of Route 1 in Van Buren.
- Replacing the I-395 Bridge on Wilson Street in Brewer.
MaineDOT has deferred these projects for later years but says there is no guarantee they will ever be completed. One issue is that the department has already completed a detailed work plan for 2019-2020, and any deferred projects could interfere with and deplete funds for other planned projects that are also considered critical to meeting the state’s transportation needs.
Among those are Portland, Houlton, Caribous and Brunswick drainage improvements and new cable guards in rural areas, highway paving throughout the date, and rehabilitation or replacement of numerous bridges.
Some projects that are being completed include:
- Bridge repair and paving Route in in Brunswick, Bath and Woolwich.
- Road surfacing in Franklin and Somerset counties.
- Bridge repair in Augusta.
- Bridge replacement in Somerset County.
- Road improvements in South Portland and Scarborough.
- Provision of a new ferry for the Maine State Ferry Service.
“Our mission is to responsibly provide our customers the safest and most reliable transportation system possible, given available resources,” MaineDOT says on its website. For information on current projects and news, visit the department’s Facebook page. For detailed information, project maps, projects open to bid and more, visit www.maine.gov/mdot.