HALLOWELL — The city’s best link to parts of Farmingdale and Litchfield could be closed for five months or more as part of a $1.6 million bridge project later this year.
The Maine Turnpike Authority is expected to close a Litchfield Road overpass after the end of school in June until November to replace and increase the height of the bridge there, one of at least nine similar bridge projects along Interstate 95 to be undertaken by the authority this year, authority spokeswoman Erin Courtney said.
The project will inconvenience many heading west out of or east into the city. They will have to take less direct routes, such as via Maple or Central streets, to bypass it.
It also probably will add to delays on Hallowell roads in the summer, as Summit Natural Gas of Maine is expected to be installing service lines past many of the homes on the east side of Interstate 95 over the course of the year.
City Manager Michael Starn said Hallowell might put off some planned paving work on city roads so it does not add to the confusion. A five-year capital improvement plan sets a goal of paving and overhauling the stormwater system on nearby Summer Street sometime in the next budget year, which begins in July.
Starn said the city knew for years that the Litchfield Road project was planned for 2014 and “there wasn’t very much we could do about it.”
“It’s their bridge, and they plan these things out years in advance,” Starn said.
The Maine Turnpike’s website says Wyman & Simpson, Inc., a Richmond-based contractor, won the bid for the project for nearly $1.6 million, also replacing nearby culverts.
Linda Masciadri, who runs her accounting business at her home on 10 Litchfield Road, near where the road veers off to Middle Street, said a crew came by her home recently to put up a sign and told her about the closure. She said that was the first time she heard of it, but that it wouldn’t affect her travels much.
“I don’t use the bridge that often, but I don’t know what kind of traffic congestion it’s going to cause my clients,” Masciadri said.