January 5, 2013

Proposed $10.8 million upgrade to new hospital's highway interchange goes to bid Wednesday

Exit 113 on Interstate 95 in North Augusta to be re-engineered for better access to MaineGeneral Medical Center's Old Belgrade Road campus

By Betty Adams badams@centralmaine.com
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA -- The state has settled on plans for an estimated $10.8 million in road improvements near exit 113 of Interstate 95.

click image to enlarge

Staff graphic by Sharon Wood

click image to enlarge

The top photo shows the front entrance of the new MaineGeneral regional hospital on May 22 in North Augusta. and the bottom one shows the same side of the new MaineGeneral regional hospital on Dec. 4.

Staff file photos by Joe Phelan

The long-awaited project -- needed to aid traffic flow at the new MaineGeneral Medical Center hospital slated to open later this year -- will go out to bid on Wednesday.

Ted Talbot, spokesman for the Maine Department of Transportation, said the chief engineer, Kenneth Sweeney, and Commissioner David Bernhardt signed off on the project last week.

"We really want to get this done," Talbot said.

Contractors will have until Jan. 30 to submit bids, Talbot said.

Motorists should be driving on the road that includes two new roundabouts in November, just before the anticipated December opening of the new $312 million regional hospital on Old Belgrade Road.

The state Department of Transportation has received all permits for the project, including a land use permit from the Department of Environmental Protection issued Dec. 17.

"We are good to go and everything is good to go," said Ernie Martin, project manager. "I think we're putting together a pretty good project for the contractors to bid."

He said bids will be opened at 11 a.m. Jan. 30 at the department's offices in Augusta.

The $10.8 million estimated cost includes construction and engineering, Martin said, adding that the state is hoping to get competitive bids.

"We're still in an environment when contractors are looking for work," he said.

Martin said the state, the city and the hospital have worked together to ensure the project runs smoothly. "It's been a lot of fun actually, a total team effort," he said.

The project connects Route 3 with Route 27, also known as Civic Center Drive, and involves widening and rebuilding Old Belgrade Road and parts of Bog Road, Middle Road and Route 27 -- Civic Center Drive -- in northwest Augusta.

It will create turning lanes, realign intersections and add traffic signals. The interstate will be bordered by two roundabouts to permit north and southbound motorists using exit 113 to reach Routes 8, 11 and 27.

The area also has been designated for future development because it is near the Marketplace at Augusta and the Central Maine Commerce Center. Also, the project is partially aimed at reducing traffic congestion at exit 112, one exit south on the interstate.

Funding for the project is coming from $6.6 million from the Maine Department of Transportation; $3.2 million from MaineGeneral Medical Center and $1.2 million from the city of Augusta through a tax increment financing deal.

Betty Adams -- 621-5631

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