PORTLAND (NEWS CENTER) -- The Maine Turnpike Authority will begin work to repair the Presumpscot River bridge next spring, and the MTA says one on ramp will most likely close.
The MTA has two plans on the table. One plan calls for a three phased approach, lasting more than two years at a cost of 8 million. The second would be completed in two phases, last for 18 months, and run 800 thousand dollars cheaper.
The catch to the faster and less expensive option; the MTA would shutdown the northbound on ramp of the Falmouth spur. The ramp would be closed for a year while crews work to repair the 55 year old bridge. Otherwise, traffic coming onto the turnpike from 295 would be dumped into the middle of a construction zone.
"We want to do our best to avoid that," said Conrad Welzel of the MTA." We looked at all of the opportunities of how we could design this and construct it so we could avoid that."
The northbound ramp sees a relatively light amount of traffic, just 1,600 cars use the ramp on a daily basis. As opposed to the 33,000 cars which use that stretch of the turnpike everyday. Even though the spur is the most direct route to points north, the low traffic numbers made the plan to close down the spur's on ramp appealing.
"1,600 cars could travel in a variety of locations and not have too much of an impact on traffic in those areas" added Welzel. So we could close the ramp here and make this happen."
As for alternative routes, the MTA says commuters looking to head north on the turnpike can take 295 south and access the turnpike from Exit 45. Welzel says the travel time is comparable.
Work is set to begin on the Presumscot River Bridge in the spring.