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Senator Collins, USDOT Secretary Chao, and Commissioner Van Note Announce More Than $61 Million to Replace 8 Maine Bridges

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Yarmouth, ME—U.S. Senator Susan Collins, U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Secretary Elaine L. Chao, and Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) Commissioner Bruce Van Note announced that the State of Maine will receive a total of $61,056,000 to replace eight bridges in southern, western, and northern Maine.


The funding was awarded through the Competitive Highway Bridge Grant Program and the Infrastructure for Rebuilding America (INFRA) Grant Program.  As the Chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, Senator Collins created the new Competitive Highway Bridge Grant Program in fiscal year 2018 to invest in bridge improvements in rural states. She has also secured robust funding for the INFRA Grant Program. 


“Repairing or replacing our aging bridges is an urgent need, and increasing funding to improve our infrastructure is one of my highest priorities.  Since joining the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee in 2009, I have worked to secure $305 million in competitive surface transportation grants for Maine,” said Senator Collins.  “I am delighted to join Secretary Chao and Commissioner Van Note to celebrate the federal and state partnership that makes this exciting announcement possible.  All of these local projects promise to produce benefits that will be felt by Maine families and businesses throughout our state.”


“Senator Collins is a tremendous advocate for the importance of infrastructure investment in Maine and in our country. We work very closely with her to ensure that the transportation needs of Maine are fully understood and appreciated,” said U.S. Transportation Secretary Chao.  “This federal investment in Maine’s infrastructure will repair and replace several key bridges to advance safety, economic growth, and improve the quality of life for residents.”


“We are thrilled to welcome Secretary Chao to Maine today. We thank her for her leadership and are extremely grateful for the work Senator Collins and our entire federal delegation have done to help secure these grants,” said Maine DOT Commissioner Bruce Van Note.  “This funding will help rebuild bridges that are critical to the economies of southern, western, and northern Maine. Our citizens are lucky to have such strong partners in Washington.”


The funding announced today will be allocated as follows:


$18,938,000 for the I-295 Bridges Project:


The I-295 Bridges Project will replace four structurally deficient bridges in Yarmouth and Freeport.  These bridges are all at least 60 years old and bear some of Maine’s heaviest traffic.  In addition to accommodating future traffic demands, these new bridges will provide greater safety for pedestrians and bicyclists.


The bridges that will be replaced include:


·         I-295 SB/U.S. Route 1 in Yarmouth (EXIT 17)

·         I-295 NB/U.S. Route 1 in Yarmouth (EXIT 17)

·         Merrill Road Interchange Bridge carrying Merrill (Desert) Road over I-295 in Freeport (EXIT 20)

·         Approach Road Interchange carrying Routes 125 and 136 over I-295 in Freeport (EXIT 22)


$6,118,000 for the Franklin County Bridges Project:


The Franklin County Bridges Project will repair a network of three key structurally deficient highway bridges in Farmington, Wilton, and Jim Pond Township.  Two of these bridges are nearly 90 years old, and the youngest is almost 60.  If any one of these bridges were to close, the detours could range up to 179 miles, placing extreme hardships on residents and the forest-products and recreation industries that are vital to the local economy.  This project will expand economic opportunity in Western Maine and improve the quality of life for the people who live there.


The bridges that will be replaced include:


·         Farmington Falls Bridge in Farmington

·         Alder Stream Bridge in Jim Pond Township

·         Hall Bridge in Wilton


$36,000,000 for the Madawaska/Edmundston International Bridge Replacement Project:


The Madawaska International Bridge is a crucial link between Maine and New Brunswick. Every day, Mainers rely on the bridge to cross into Canada and also benefit economically from visitors who depend on the bridge to enter the country. Since 2017, northern Maine’s largest employer – Twin Rivers Paper Company – has been unable to use the bridge to transport raw materials and finished goods because of posted weight limits, instead rerouting through Van Buren and adding up to 75 miles and nearly two hours of travel time to a roundtrip.  Senator Collins first announced this grant in July.