The Maine Department of Transportation has released its three-year transportation infrastructure work plan, which includes improvements and additions throughout the Lakes Region.
The plan, which is released annually, includes an outline of the DOT’s strategy for road, bridge and other transportation projects throughout the state. Its three focus areas are safety, innovation and downtown improvements.
Projects within the Lakes Region include highway rehabilitation, paving projects, ditching and culvert maintenance, bridge and safety improvements, new construction, light capital paving and rail operations, drainage and intersection improvements. They include:
- 11 miles of Route 302 across Casco, Naples, Raymond and Windham will be paved, as will nearly 4 miles of Route 202 in Gorham and Windham.
- Ditching and culvert replacements on Route 302 in Windham.
- Replacement of the Watchic Bridge over Page Brook in Standish.
- Improvements to the Songo Lock Drawbridge in Naples over the Songo River to ensure the ability for marine traffic to pass by.
- Rail operations improvements in Gray and New Gloucester to the Pan Am Maineline.
What is unusual about this year’s plan, said Sen. Bill Diamond, D-Windham, who chairs the Legislature’s Transportation Committee, is “the aggressiveness which the current administration is going to be going after the projects that have been delayed all these years. That has not been the case in the past. Some of these roads are really bad in terms of how they’ve been deteriorating.”
Diamond said the work plan may change slightly in the future because it was created by the previous administration.
“It may have some changes in priorities,” he said.
Diamond anticipates that all projects will be completed within the intended three-year period and said there “would have to be an unexpected disruption” for the plan to not proceed as scheduled.
The state’s “big dilemma” with this plan, he said, will be funding.
“Right now, we’re relying on bonding. That’s worked out pretty well, but it’s not a long-term plan that I’m comfortable with. We really have to focus in on some funding alternatives” he said.
As the work plan progresses, Diamond said the DOT will give frequent updates to ensure they are “staying on top of everything that’s going on.” With “constant evaluation,” the committee can ensure the plan is “still on track.”
The plan includes more than $2.44 billion of construction and maintenance and features 2,193 work items. The plan estimates completing 199 miles of highway construction and rehabilitation, 1,143 miles of pavement preservation, 1,800 miles of light capital paving for roads and highways, 203 spot and safety improvements and 203 bridge projects statewide.
The work plan in its entirety can be found on the Maine DOT website.
Jane Vaughan can be reached at 780-9103 or at email@example.com.
This stretch of Webbs Mills Road in Casco will be paved as part of this year’s Maine DOT work plan.