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Weekend long closure of Exit 45 southbound ramps beginning Friday night

Maine Turnpike Authority Logo FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
February 24, 2020
Erin Courtney
CONTACT: Dan Morin (MTA)

Weekend long closure of Exit 45 southbound ramps beginning Friday night

First phase of Exit 45 Interchange Reconstruction Underway

SOUTH PORTLAND, Maine-Beginning this Friday evening, February 28th, 2020, the southbound on and off ramps of Exit 45 (Maine Mall Exit) on the Maine Turnpike will be closed through the weekend. The ramps will close starting at 9:00 PM on Friday, February 28th and will reopen by 6:00 AM on Monday, March 2, 2020.  That means anyone coming south on the Maine Turnpike will not be able to get off at Exit 45.  Anyone coming from the Maine Mall area wishing to get on the Turnpike headed south will also need to take an alternate route.

During the ramp closures motorists have two nearby interchanges available as alternatives:   Exit 46 (Jetport Exit) or Exit 42 (Scarborough). Variable message signs have been in place since last week alerting the traveling public to this upcoming closure. The work is weather dependent with the following weekend of March 6th reserved as a back up, if needed. Please check the MTA’s website, variable message signs and social media for any changes.

These closures are necessary for the installation of wick drains.  Wick drains are used to remove water from the clay soils and need to be installed beneath the pavement of these ramps as part of the first phase of reconstructing the Exit 45 Interchange.

The Exit 45 interchange in South Portland is being reconstructed with additional capacity for future traffic volumes, two new ramp toll plazas and a new, higher and wider bridge.  The new bridge will be raised approximately 6 feet to provide a 16.5 foot clearance over the Maine Turnpike. The area around Exit 45 has soils that are mostly clay and building in this environment causes an undesirable amount of settlement.
Because of this, the new ramp locations and approaches to the new bridge require installing wick drains and preloading the site with gravel and other materials to minimize settlement before construction of the new Interchange begins. The preloaded material will remain in place for approximately 18 months.

Wick drains remove water from the clay as the preload materials compress the soils. Removing the water from the clay increases the rate of soil settlement faster than preloading alone, which allows construction to begin sooner.  This $14.8 million project was awarded to Sargent Corporation with work beginning in the fall of 2019.  The expected completion is spring of 2021.

  • In this project 27,527 wick drains are being installed.  Each one is driven about 85 feet below the ground surface.  In total, 443 miles of wick drain is being installed – that’s enough to follow the driving distance from Bangor to New York City
  • Fill: 330,000 cubic yards of fill material will be placed. That’s roughly 27,000 truckloads of material
  • Utility Relocation: Over 5 miles of electrical transmission line will be relocated or replaced
Below are two aerial photos taken at the end of January and a plan showing all of the wicks that have been installed to-date.  

2020Jan29_7.jpeg   2020Jan29_4.jpeg  Exit-45-wick-drain-installation-plan.jpg