Maine's busiest stretch of highway will be closed to traffic later this month
Later this month, a section of I-295 between Portland and Falmouth, ME will be shut down for nearly three days to replace an outdated bridge, as the Portland Press Herald reported.
The closure will start at 7 p.m. on Friday, April 22 and end at 11 a.m. on Monday, April 25. During this time, crews will remove the existing, 61-year-old Veranda Street bridge and roll in a new bridge that is currently under construction nearby. Veranda Street itself will also be shut down for a week as part of the project.
It's a necessary project, as the existing bridge is structurally deficient, and the roll-in technique will keep the closure to a few days instead of the years that may have been required for traditional techniques. We're glad to see that, because closing a major highway for even a short stretch of time can significantly affect the risk of car accidents.
When highways are shut down, local roads can get more dangerous
The stretch of I-295 that will be shut down averages 53,000 vehicles a day. While completing this project over the weekend will hopefully minimize the effects on traffic, that's still a lot of motorists who need to find alternate routes to their destinations, especially on the Monday morning at the end of the closure.
Unfortunately, highway drivers who are diverted to side streets and urban roads are not always the safest operators. They may drive too fast on those roads, fail to yield, and otherwise drive aggressively, increasing the risk of serious car accidents. We're also concerned about the possibility of distracted driving from motorists on surrounding roads rubbernecking at the construction.
Again, that's why we're glad that MaineDOT is making a concerted effort to keep this closure as brief as possible. The project is necessary for long-term road safety in Portland, and this approach will minimize the effects on road safety during completion. However, it still drives home the need for accountability for dangerous drivers. Every motorist has a legal responsibility to operate their vehicle in a safe manner, and that responsibility is constant even when traffic patterns change.
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It only takes a moment of inattention or careless driving to change someone's life for good. The cost of a car accident can add up quickly: medical bills, lost income, pain and suffering, property damage, and more. You have rights under Maine law, and you don't have to go through the process alone. We can help.
If you've been injured in a car accident in Portland or anywhere in Maine, the legal team at Jabar LaLiberty, LLC can aggressively advocate for your best interests and fight for the compensation you're entitled to. Since 1979, our attorneys have been representing Mainers hurt in crashes, and we know what it takes to win.
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