GARDINER, Maine (AP) — Traffic is rolling in the northbound lanes of a 17-mile section of Interstate 295 that was closed for reconstruction seven weeks ago.

The stretch of highway between Gardiner and Topsham opened Monday afternoon, three weeks ahead of schedule. The $35.3 million project involved rebuilding the road, replacing guardrails and rehabilitating six bridges.

Instead of contending with traffic during construction, the Department of Transportation decided to close the lanes entirely and reroute traffic onto nearby Route 201 and the Maine Turnpike.

The same strategy was used last year when the southbound lanes were rebuilt.

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