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Maine has been awarded $61 million in federal grants to help replace eight aging highway bridges over the next five years.
The two federal grants will help fund construction of bridges on Interstate 295, in Franklin County and Madawaska.
The grants were announced Sept. 4 by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao and Maine Transportation Commissioner Bruce Van Note.
Almost $19 million will be spent on replacing four I-295 bridges in Freeport and Yarmouth, covering more than half the estimated $33 million project cost.
Two Route 1 exit ramps in Yarmouth and Freeport bridges carrying Desert Road and Route 125 over the highway are all more than 60 years old, structurally deficient and take some of Maine’s heaviest traffic. More than 25,000 vehicles cross the Yarmouth bridges a day, according to MDOT. Bridge construction is expected to be done by 2023.
The Franklin County project entails replacing the Farmington Falls Bridge in Farmington, Hall Bridge in Wilton and Alder Stream Bridge in Jim Pond Township. The Farmington and Wilton bridges were built more than 90 years ago. The Alder Stream bridge is 60 years old but is structurally deficient, and if it had to be closed, it would require a 179-mile detour, according to MDOT.
The federal grants will pay for about two-thirds of the $10.8 million project that is expected to be complete in 2024.
About $36 million, more than half the award’s amount, will help replace the Madawaska-Edmundston International Bridge in Aroostook County.
Funding comes from the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America program and Competitive Highway Bridge Grant Program, created by Collins.
In a statement, Van Note thanked Collins and the U.S. Transportation Department for help getting the grants. Maine was the only New England state to receive money from the programs.
“This funding will help rebuild bridges that are critical to the economies of southern, western and northern Maine,” Van Note said. “Our citizens are lucky to have such strong partners in Washington.”