BATH, Maine — The Bath viaduct, which carries Route 1 over local streets and the Central Maine & Quebec Railway lines before connecting to the Sagadahoc Bridge over the Kennebec River, will close Tuesday as a $14 million reconstruction project gets fully underway.
The new viaduct, with a life expectancy of 80 years or more, is expected to open on Memorial Day 2017, according to the Maine Department of Transportation.
Traffic will be diverted to other nearby roads as crews from Reed & Reed Construction of Woolwich will work 24 hours per day, seven days per week on the project. Although signs, flaggers and other aids will be in place, delays, closures and detours from those roads are expected.
Access to downtown Bath will be maintained, according to state transportation officials, and detours will occur most often between 7 p.m. and 6 a.m., and routes will vary. Traffic on Franklin and Middle streets will be blocked from passing under or through the viaduct work areas.
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The project also includes improvements to pedestrian sidewalks, crosswalks, signage and lighting, according to the release. Drainage will improve through separating stormwater runoff and city sewer.
According to the release, the viaduct “will feature the latest in guardrail systems, lighting, signage and engineering designs.”
Demolition will begin Tuesday on the existing 58-year-old structure, more than four months after a Windham woman and her son were injured when her sport utility vehicle broke through the guardrail and drove off the viaduct, landing upside down in the bed of a truck on the street below.
State transportation officials said the Bath viaduct has been checked annually for the last several years, but the crash prompted Maine Department of Transportation officials to re-examine 30 other bridges with similar construction, Portland television station WGME, CBS 13, reported after the crash. Department of Transportation officials told WGME that the guardrails were never crash tested and don’t meet today’s standards.