LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- A lack of storms, mild temperatures and a well plannedconstruction design are being hailed for work on the newVeterans Memorial Bridge beingslightly ahead of schedule and under budget.

"The state asked us for a bridge design with a 100 year life in a salt environment, and it had very strict stipulations about what was allowed and what wasn't allowed," explained Charlie Guerette, project manager for contractor Reed & Reed.

Guerette says those specifications led his team to propose using giant concrete segments to build the 1600 foot long span. He says the precast concrete sections saved on labor costs and allowed them to piece the bridge together faster.

"I'd say the biggest challenge of this job is that it is a design build project, so we are responsible for the design, for the build, and for the construction," stated Guerette.

"We were very fortunate to have a design which allowed us to build probably 90% of this bridge with very little impact to traffic," said Jeff Folsom, theMaine Department of Trasportation engineer overseeing the work.

Folsom says as the bridge nears completion, there will be more traffic pattern changes on both sides of the Fore River as workers finish building the approaches to the bridge.

Starting April 16th, the on ramp to the old bridge from Main Street in South Portland will be closed for a few weeks while work is done to improve pedestrian access to the new bridge. Folsom says there will also be lane closures and delays in the area around the bridges beginning in early May.

The $63 million project will open to cars, trucks, bikes and people in early July. The new bridge has been vastly improved for pedestrians and bicyclists, with a separate twelve foot wide travel lane and three lookouts with benches for people to stop and enjoy the view.

There will also be a pavilion built on the Portland end of the bridge to honor those who have served in the military.

Read or Share this story: http://on.wcsh6.com/1fxo5m4