The Maine Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that the Veranda Street Bridge project that involved the rapid replacement of the bridge carrying traffic on Interstate 295 over Route 1/Veranda Street is substantially complete.

The work that began in March of 2021 involved an innovative Accelerated Bridge Construction technique designed to reduce long-term traffic disruptions. 

According to MaineDOT, conventional bridge construction techniques would have involved building a temporary bridge and would have likely created daily traffic congestion on I-295 for up to four years. MaineDOT says the ABC method reduced significant traffic impacts to a period of 60 hours. 

An estimated 50,000 vehicles use the bridge each day on average, according to MaineDOT.

The project also involved reconfiguring the roadways underneath the bridge to improve traffic safety and enhance use by bicyclists and pedestrians.

The reconfigured Veranda Street consists of two 11-foot-wide vehicle travel lanes, two five-foot-wide bicycle lanes, a five-foot-wide sidewalk on the north side of the roadway, and a multi-use path on the south side that extends to the Martin's Point Bridge.

Nearly 1.5 acres of what was previously roadway and median can now be used for green space. The city of Portland will oversee further work along the waterfront.

The previous bridge was 61 years old and structurally deficient. The new bridge is designed to last 100 years.

The total project cost is approximately $20.8 million.