Friday, July 23, 2021

Upcoming bridge work to detour Route 115 traffic into Windham

By Ed Pierce

For thousands of motorists who rely on Route 115 to get to their destination daily, the commute in and out of town is about to get a little trickier for a few weeks.

Last week the Maine Department of Transportation revealed the start date for a project to shore up the Narrows Bridge on Route 115, which spans Ditch Brook. Work on the bridge was originally scheduled to take place in the spring of 2020 but was postponed because of school schedules and resulting traffic delays and detours for school buses.

MDOT construction crews will begin work on the Narrows
Bridge on Route 115 in Windham starting on Monday, July 26.
The work will cause the reduction of traffic on Route 115 to
one lane eastbound. Vehicles entering Windham westbound from
Gray will be detoured onto Route 202. PHOTO BY ED PIERCE  
The $150,000 project will remove the east bridge joint and replace it with a new armored joint, removal of the west bridge joint and replace it with a new APJ asphaltic plug joint, applying sealer to wearing surfaces of the bridge, and extensive repair of the abutment over Ditch Brook. Work on the project will begin on Monday morning, July 26, and is estimated that the work will take about three weeks overall to complete.

The Narrows Bridge is located some 250 feet west of Running Brook Road on Route 115, also known as the Tandberg Trail and just west of the Falmouth Road intersection. Thousands of vehicles use Route 115 and cross the Narrows Bridge each day as it connects Windham to Gray, the Maine Turnpike and points beyond.

According to Maine DOT officials, work on the Narrows Bridge will force the reduction of traffic on Route 115 to one lane for the duration of the project.

MDOT says that vehicles entering Windham from Gray on Route 115 will be detoured onto Route 202 to either Falmouth Road or Route 302 to reach their destinations. Traffic on Route 115 will only be allowed to travel east away from Route 302 for the duration of the Narrows Bridge work. 

Traffic signs for associated project detours were put in place several weeks ago and will be uncovered Sunday, Maine DOT says.

Residents of the Running Brook, Collinwood and Wedgewood neighborhoods in Windham will be able to access Running Brook Road from both directions, according to Windham Public Works. A sign on Running Brook Road indicating “No Outlet, Residents Only” will be posted there at the entrance from Route 115 throughout the duration of the project.

Earlier this week, traffic on Route 115 in the area was limited to one lane briefly as Windham DPW workers repaired some erosion damage adjacent to locations the state project will tackle near Ditch Brook.

Because of the proximity to the Narrows Bridge, the Windham DPW erosion work was necessary prior to the Maine DOT project launch because of accessibility issues once the state begins work there, a representative of Windham DPW said in a social media posting.

In March. State Rep. Patrick Corey, R-Windham, said that the three-year MDOT Work Plan from 2021 to 2023 would include seven different projects totaling more than $2.5 million.

Among the projects included in the three-year plan was the Narrows Bridge repair and numerous improvements to Route 302 in Windham such as rehabilitation and construction to the roundabout there as well as safety improvements made possible through the municipal partnership initiative program.

“MDOT Work Plan projects will benefit our local communities in many ways,” Corey said in a press release. “I am pleased to see several MDOT projects scheduled for the next three years in our area. They will make our roads safer and benefit the local economy.” 

According to Paul Merrill, Maine DOT public information officer, detours associated with the Narrows Bridge repair project will end by Friday, Aug. 13.

Some ancillary work, requiring an alternating single-lane traffic pattern, may occur after that date,” Merrill said. <

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