MaineDOT has begun preliminary work on reconstructing 3.58 mi. (5.76 km) of Route 4 south of the Rangeley Lakes region in Madrid and Sandy River Plantation.
The Route 4 highway reconstruction is one of seven regional reconstruction projects that are scheduled to be financed through a $50 million dollar bond approved by the legislature last session. Other highway reconstruction projects that are planned through this bond include projects in Ellsworth, Freeport, Wallagrass, Gilead, Poland and Dover-Foxcroft.
“Without the support of the governor and the Legislature, this reconstruction project would not have started,” said MaineDOT Commissioner David Cole, “These projects are important not only for the safety of the traveling public, but also to our state’s economy and our quality of life.”
The governor and the Legislature approved this $50 million bond specifically for highway reconstruction projects such as this. This type of funding mechanism, a TransCap revenue bond, is used for highway projects that will last more than 15 years. A major highway reconstruction such as this one is expected to last 20 years.
This section of Route 4 also is part of the Rangeley Lakes Scenic Byway, a nationally designated 35-mi. (56 km) route that winds through the mountains of and lakes of western Maine. It starts at Smalls Falls on Route 4, continues along Route 4 through the villages of Rangeley and Oquossoc, heads south on Route 17 over the “Height of Land”, and finishes in Byron. The U.S. Secretary of Transportation recognizes certain roads as National Scenic Byways based on their archaeological, cultural, historic, natural, recreational, and scenic qualities. There are 126 National Scenic Byways in 44 states, including four in Maine.
The road reconstruction will begin at the Smalls Falls Rest Area on Route 4, and continue 3.58 mi. to the north. This is a major reconstruction project, which will include realignment of the road, ditching, drainage improvements, road base improvements and three layers of pavement.
A 0.75-mi. (1.2 km) section of the road also will be realigned. Starting approximately 1,250 ft. (381 m) north of Smalls Falls, the roadway will be shifted approximately 1,000 ft. (305 m) to the east in order to straighten out a curve in the roadway. While this new section of road is constructed, traffic will continue to be routed over the current road until it is complete. This will help minimize construction delays. The remainder of the road reconstruction projects follows much of the current road.
There also are several culverts that need to be replaced along this section of road.
Installation of these new culverts could cause delays for motorists.
MaineDOT will oversee CPM Constructors of Freeport for the duration of the project. During this project, there will be three to five crews working at any given time so motorists should expect delays. If the project proceeds as planned and there are no unexpected problems, construction should be completed by Oct. 31, 2009.