Sep. 21—The I-295 overpass over Veranda Street in Portland will be closed for a weekend in late October to replace the bridge.
The Maine Department of Transportation said the section of Interstate 295 that crosses Veranda will be closed from 7 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 22, to 11 a.m. Monday, Oct. 25. In addition, the section of U.S. Route 1/Veranda that runs under the bridge will be closed for a week, from 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 18, until 2 p.m. Monday, Oct. 25.
The 60-year-old bridge needs to be replaced, MDOT officials said, and Route 1 and Veranda also will be reconfigured to improve mobility and safety.
As part of the replacement, MDOT will, for the first time, use a "self-propelled modular transporter" to move the new bridge into place. The replacement bridge is being constructed on the east side of the existing bridge and will be moved into place when the interstate is closed. MDOT said modular transporters are used to move massive objects that are too big for trucks — for instance, NASA uses them to move space shuttle components.
MDOT said the method of building the bridge ahead of time and then moving it into place will minimize the amount of time that the interstate will have to be closed.
MDOT also has set up a website — verandaplan.org — that will offer detour routes for drivers to use to avoid the area. It already includes an FAQ section about the project, a live video feed of the construction site and a link to register for an online meeting on Oct. 5, at which MDOT officials will provide an update on the project and an opportunity for the public to ask questions about the replacement, which MDOT has dubbed the "Veranda Plan."
The replacement project will cost about $20.8 million, and the contract for the construction portion — $18.1 million — was awarded to Pittsfield-based general contractor Cianbro. Construction began in March and is expected to be completed by the end of 2022.