Southbound lanes on the Maine Turnpike are expected to be closed intermittently overnight this week so the old Exit 102 bridge in West Gardiner can be removed. The work marks the last of several projects near the West Gardiner interchange that have added high-speed toll lanes and created new access to the highway for snowplows over the past several years. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

WEST GARDINER — Overnight traffic traveling south this week through the West Gardiner interchange on the Maine Turnpike is likely to be halted intermittently as workers remove the old southbound entering ramp at Exit 102.

The work is part of a $3.1 million project to build a new on-ramp at the exit and the latest in a series of projects to improve the West Gardiner interchange area.

The closures are in addition to expected daytime closures from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m., reduced speeds in the high-speed lane for pavement repairs at mile marker 103 and evening closures from 7 p.m. to midnight and reduced speeds earlier this week for guardrail repairs at mile marker 104.3.

The removal of the of the old bridge is scheduled for this week, but the exact timing of the project depends on the weather.

Erin Courtney, outreach manager for the Maine Turnpike Authority, said rain this summer has imposed delays on the work schedule, making notifications challenging.

“The weather has messed everything up,” Courtney said.


For the past five years, a series of projects in the area of the interchange has upgraded road surfaces, added high-speed toll lanes and will now include a project to add safe access from High Street onto the highway for emergency vehicles and snowplows.

A sign and barricades inform motorists the old on-ramp to the Maine Turnpike southbound in West Gardiner is closed. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

Courtney said snowplows are now required to cross the median on the turnpike to finish their route. Instead, they will be able to leave the highway via a slip ramp, use the local road to loop around and get back onto the highway via a slip ramp on the highway to plow in the other direction.

In 2018, work was begun on the $6.8 million project to raise, expand and put a new deck onto the bridge that carries Exit 103 southbound traffic over the turnpike and to the toll booth.

A year later, work was started on the $30 million open road tolling plaza project that allows drivers with E-ZPass transponders to travel at highway speeds while their tolls are tallied electronically. In upgrading the technology for through-drivers, the Maine Turnpike Authority has also preserved cash lanes in both directions.

The open road tolling collection at West Gardiner was the final of seven such projects on the turnpike, which ends in Augusta.

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