AUGUSTA — Work underway now on a new four-way intersection to accommodate an anticipated increase in traffic on Civic Center Drive with the new Maine National Guard headquarters nearby will expand to nighttime construction starting Monday.

The new intersection with a traffic signal and turning lanes on Civic Center Drive will connect at its current intersection with Darin Drive, the entrance to the Augusta Business Park. It will incorporate Darin Drive with Blue Star Avenue on the opposite side of Civic Center Drive, which provides access to Maine Veterans Memorial Cemetery, the new Maine National Guard headquarters currently under construction, and the existing Comfort Inn motel and Ninety Nine Restaurant.

The new intersection is needed to accommodate the expected increase in traffic in the already busy commercial area, state transportation officials said.

The new Army and Air Guard headquarters, when complete, is expected to put an additional 208 vehicles on Civic Center Drive during the peak morning weekday commuting hour and 200 during the peak evening weekday commute, according to a traffic study submitted as part of the Augusta Planning Board’s approval process for the new, 100,000-square-foot, two-story Guard headquarters building.

“It will be a safer, smoother roadway, and more efficient for traffic,” Ted Talbot, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said about the changes to accommodate the expected increase in traffic. “As with any new traffic pattern, we advise motorists to use caution in the area. Once the final paving is done in the spring of 2017, travelers will find this area much more user friendly.”

Talbot said the contract for the job, awarded to West Gardiner-based McGee Construction for $1.1 million, specifies lane closures will only take place during night construction between 6:30 p.m. and 6:30 a.m.


But that doesn’t mean some work won’t take place during the day.

When complete, the intersection will have left-turning lanes controlled by the traffic signal for motorists turning from Civic Center Drive onto Darin Drive or Blue Star Avenue.

While Blue Star Avenue will provide new access to Comfort Inn motel and Ninety Nine Restaurant, the existing access directly onto Civic Center Drive for those businesses will remain, but be limited to right-in, right-out only, transportation department officials said, with motorists looking to turn left in or out using the new intersection.

Talbot noted access to all businesses adjacent to the project will be maintained during construction.

The new traffic signal is expected to be functioning by the end of November.

The majority of work on the intersection is expected to take place this year with final surface paving in spring 2017.


Construction continues between Civic Center Drive and the cemetery at the new site of the Maine National Guard’s headquarters.

Construction of the new Guard headquarters began in August of last year and is expected to be complete in fall 2017 with a shorter term goal of having the exterior of the massive new building weather-tight and insulated before this winter, according to Maj. Norman J. Stickney, public affairs officer for Maine National Guard.

The Guard expects to occupy the building by winter 2018, according to Lt. Col. Normand Michaud, project manager.

“Construction progress on this project is going very well,” Michaud said. “To date we have met all the major milestones to keep us on track.”

Stickney said work on the new, $32 million Guard headquarters is about 40 percent complete and on budget.

There have been well over 100 different workers on the site since it started, according to Mary Beth Van Keuren, owner’s representative on the project, with about 50 workers on site on any given day.


Progress since May includes roofing, framing of interior and exterior walls, exterior wall sheathing, roughed-in installation of mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure, and placement of the last two remaining concrete slabs.

The building will be accessed off Blue Star Avenue with a permanent gatehouse and two separate entrances controlling access to the site. One entrance will be for Guard employees who will swipe a security card to gain access, while the other, at a likely staffed gatehouse, will be for visitors.

The new facility will be named Camp Chamberlain after former Maine governor, adjutant general and Civil War hero Joshua L. Chamberlain.

Stickney said it will be a state-of-the-art, world-class facility Maine citizens can be proud of.

It will be home to senior Army National Guard and Air National Guard personnel specializing in human resources, intelligence, operations, logistics, resource guidance and support to the major commands in the Maine National Guard, according to Stickney.

About 260 people will work there.


Camp Keyes, the Guard’s current headquarters, will remain open. Guard operations to remain at Camp Keyes, according to Stickney, will include family and veterans outreach services, ground maintenance support, printing plant operations, training sites and resource management, shipping and receiving, and facilities maintenance.

Nickerson & O’Day Inc., of Brewer, is the general contractor on the project.

Officials hope to improve safety in the area with the new intersection and another change to the Interstate 95 southbound offramp.

The state plans to eliminate a “slip lane” motorists now coming off Interstate 95 southbound toward Belgrade use and instead move those motorists to the existing traffic light used by traffic coming off the interstate and heading toward downtown Augusta and the Marketplace at Augusta. That intersection comes to a T and will require motorists to stop. The existing slip lane allows motorists heading toward Belgrade to merge with traffic. Some motorists, officials said, come down the offramp and into traffic at a high rate of speed, creating the potential for accidents.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647

[email protected]

Twitter: @kedwardskj

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