WATERVILLE — The Ticonic Bridge connecting Waterville and Winslow will remain open to traffic during construction despite requests from officials in both communities that it be closed while being replaced.

Waterville City Manager Steve Daly told the City Council this week the Maine Department of Transportation responded to Winslow’s request to close the bridge during the construction and redirect traffic through Fairfield and the Carter Memorial Bridge, which also connects Waterville and Winslow. The DOT said it plans to keep the bridge open.

“Their response has been that the closing off of the bridge entirely would not substantially reduce the amount of time it will take to replace the bridge, and that has to do with the transfer of utilities and scheduling with utility companies that are involved,” Daly said Tuesday.

The bridge on U.S. Route 201 is scheduled to be replaced, possibly beginning later this year, as part of a $40.5 million project expected to be completed in 2027.

The Maine Department of Transportation has decided to keep the Ticonic Bridge open to traffic while the structure undergoes a $40.5 million upgrade. Above, traffic heads from Winslow into Waterville. Head of Falls along the Kennebec River is at left. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel file

Daly said he and others expect to meet next week with state DOT officials to discuss construction and design details.

State officials said earlier this year they would consider the requests by Waterville and Winslow officials to close the bridge over the Kennebec River while a new one is being built. Winslow Town Manager Erica LaCroix said in January she thought doing so would not only decrease construction time by about a year but also alleviate traffic congestion, particularly at intersections near the bridge.


Meanwhile, on nearby Main Street in downtown Waterville, where an $11.2 million revitalization project is underway, the width of street curbs will not be reduced by 2 or 3 feet to allow more room for traffic on the street. As part of the project, traffic on Main and Front streets will change from one way to two way.

Daly said the city has had many discussions with councilors and businesspeople on Main Street about the “apparent narrowness of the future Main Street, based on where the curbs have been set.”

Councilor Rick Foss, R-Ward 5, said the street will be too narrow to accommodate traffic, particularly delivery trucks that must park on the street.

Daly said the city took up the matter with a state DOT engineer, and DOT officials said it would probably take four to six months to analyze the impact of widening the street. If the state were to approve it, the matter would move on to the Federal Highway Administration and it could take six to 12 months to review it, analyze it and render a decision.

“The result would be that we would see a delay in the conclusion of the project from between 10 to 18 months,” Daly said, “and that seems to me to be very unacceptable.”

Daly said Waterville has checked with other municipalities that have made similar “traffic calming” efforts in their downtowns, including Augusta, Hallowell and Portland, and learned the change had a significantly positive effect, including more pedestrians and diners along the streets.

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