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March 17, 2021

2 Maine contractors now at work on $42M overhaul of Maine Turnpike exit

Courtesy / Maine Turnpike Authority This aerial picture, looking east, shows Exit 45 of the Maine Turnpike as currently configured.
Courtesy / Maine Turnpike Authority A rendering shows the planned reconfiguration of the Maine Turnpike's Exit 45 interchange, after two phases of construction totaling over $42 million in cost.

Two Maine construction companies are at work this week on the rebuilding of a heavily traveled turnpike interchange, an undertaking that’s expected to cost over $42 million.

CPM Constructors of Freeport has begun a $27.7 million project to increase traffic capacity at Exit 45 of the Maine Turnpike, near the Maine Mall in South Portland. The job includes relocating toll collection stations to two new ramp plazas and replacing a bridge with a larger, higher one that can provide 16.5 feet of clearance above the highway, the Maine Turnpike Authority said in a news release.

Sargent Corp., based in Old Town, is also completing a  $14.8 million contract to “pre-load” the site with gravel and other materials, as well as install nearly 30,000 wick drains to minimize settlement before the new construction begins.

Sargent began the work in the fall of 2019, and expects to finish by the end of this month. CPM’s job is expected to be complete and the new interchange ready for use by September 2022. The existing plaza and bridge would then be demolished sometime in 2023. 

Courtesy / Maine Turnpike Authority
A close-up rendering of the redesigned Maine Turnpike Exit 45 in South Portland.

The current interchange, which sees some of the greatest traffic volumes on the 109-mile turnpike, has an awkward design that forces drivers entering the highway to drive down a ramp and circle back into traffic before they can pass through the toll plaza. There is also a difficult lane merger, and the existing bridge over the turnpike has been struck multiple times by over-height vehicles, according to the MTA.

“When completed, Exit 45 will have a more efficient diamond interchange, a brand-new bridge with increased clearance, and ramp toll plazas giving drivers a safer, more fluid connection to the Turnpike,” said Executive Director Peter Mills.

“It is also the last plaza on the Pike to receive tolling system upgrades. Once all the plazas are on the same platform it gives us greater flexibility to enhance our electronic tolling capabilities — all which benefit our customers,” said Mills.

Over the next few weeks, construction crews will begin setting concrete barriers, restriping the roadway, shifting traffic away from the median and mobilizing equipment, followed by some ramp closures in April, the MTA said.

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