The Portland Connector—joining Interstate 295 and Commercial Street in Portland, Maine—marks the state's first highway design-build project. Photo: Don Johnson Photography

The recently opened Interstate 295/Commercial Street Connector in Portland, Maine, is a first-of-its-kind project that could lead to statewide benefits. This $25 million project—which links the Outer Congress Street Exit of I-295 with West Commercial Street and Portland's working waterfront—is Maine's first highway project to be constructed using the design-build process.

Design-build had worked well for the state on a bridge project completed in 2000: the Sagadahoc Bridge between Woolwich and Bath. Later approved for highway construction by the Maine legislature, the approach enables the Maine DOT and contractors to complete projects in less time and with greater flexibility than with the traditional methods.

Completed in November 2005, the work included replacement of a traffic circle with an at-grade intersection, and construction of a 1-mile span of highway with three bridges along the Fore River. It also provided more than a mile of pedestrian and bicycle trails between the Portland Transportation Center and Commercial Street.

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