This design simulation created for the Maine Turnpike Authority shows how Lewiston’s revamped Exit 80 interchange will work when construction is finished.

LEWISTON — State road crews will open the revamped northbound on-ramp at Maine Turnpike’s Exit 80 on Thursday morning, but work there is almost a year away from completion.

Work on the Maine Turnpike Authority’s Lewiston Interchange Reconstruction project moves to the southbound off-ramp Tuesday, with crews blasting one to two times daily for the next week to make room.

Entrances to the old on- and off-ramps at Alfred A. Plourde Parkway were next to each other, with northbound traffic turning west but then looping around to merge onto the turnpike. The northbound on-ramp entrance moves to the other side of Plourde Parkway now.

“The northbound on-ramp was the most work that they’ll have to do on this project,” Maine Turnpike Authority representative Erin Courtney said. “They needed to do a lot of blasting there last February to get the new ramp aligned to the way they needed it.”

Work on the $5.1 million project began in January and is scheduled to continue into 2015. It’s designed to make Lewiston’s turnpike interchange faster to navigate and more efficient.


The project is broken into phases, with the first phase — replacing the on- and off-ramps in both directions — wrapping up this fall.

Courtney said crews should be able to complete the ramp work without having to close a ramp and detour traffic.

“There were originally going to be some long-term closures of the other three ramps,” she said. “We would have had to detour traffic to the next exit, turn them around and bring them back. But at this point, the contractor thinks they can do the rest of the work without closing them.”

Once the ramps are finished, work moves to replace the Plourde Parkway bridge over the turnpike’s main lanes.

“The other three ramps will not require us to do as much work,” she said. “With this one, we had to build an entirely new ramp. It’s going to be a new traffic pattern, and we just want people to be aware of it.”

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