Cars drive over the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Bridge on Tuesday, heading over the Kennebec River between Gardiner, bottom, and Randolph. The eastbound route on the bridge is expected to be closed Monday through Aug. 16 for resurfacing. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

GARDINER — Starting on Monday, you won’t be able to get from “they-ah” from “hey-ah” if you’re travelling from Gardiner to Randolph.

The eastbound traffic lane on the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Bridge is scheduled to be closed from Monday until Aug. 16 to replace the wearing surface on the bridge.

All traffic is to be rerouted either north to Augusta or south to Richmond and Dresden, which is expected to make travel difficult and longer for those that live or work on either side of the Kennebec River, impacting local businesses. The bridge’s westbound lane is to stay open during construction.

Lillian Blais was in the Walgreen’s parking lot in Gardiner on Tuesday morning. She said she is concerned about the bridge’s closure for many reasons, including its effect on emergency services and the difficulties it could cause for older residents.

“It’s going to be a problem for the elderly, especially if they have a medication or appointments over the river at the Ballard Center,” Blais said. “It’s going to be really difficult. I’m worried about the police and the fire and everything. The traffic is going to be blocked up and it’s going to take time to get from Hallowell to Augusta and come around.”

Eastbound traffic is directed to continue north on U.S. Route 201, also known as Route 27, through Farmingdale, Hallowell and into Augusta. Traffic should then cross the Augusta Memorial Bridge over the Kennebec River and use Route 9 back through Chelsea to the Randolph side of the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Bridge.


The detour will add a least an additional 20 minutes to get to the Randolph side of the Kennebec, according to Google Maps.

Cars drive over the Pearl Harbor Remembrance Bridge on Tuesday, with Gardiner to the left and Randolph to the right. Bridge work that will limit traffic to one lane is expected to begin on Monday and continue through Aug. 16.  Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal

The Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office did not respond immediately when asked about plans for handling emergency calls that would usually use the bridge’s eastbound lane.

The closure is also expected to have an impact on local businesses, especially coming at the height of tourism season.

Tamara Whitmore, director of Gardiner Main Street, a nonprofit that helps bring business and events to the city center, thinks most of the impact will be on visitors who drive through Gardiner and want to go south on Route 27, as well as employees who now have a longer drive to work.

Whitmore said the Maine Department of Transportation, which is conducting the bridge project, listened to the community on when to schedule the construction at a community forum last year.

“I think the reason why people chose this time is like ripping off a Band-Aid, like, let’s get (the construction) done in 30 days instead of drag it out,” she said. “They listened to us when we asked if it could be after July 4 and The Great Race.”

Whitmore plugged the idea of having a water taxi from Randolph to Gardiner as an alternate way of transportation, but the idea did not get very far.

“I was hoping to get some type of water taxi or shuttle, but I did not put all of my effort into it,” she said. “I thought it was a great idea. We used to use the river so much for transportation and it’s my pet project in the back of my head of how we can use the river more.”

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