MADAWASKA, Maine — The International Bridge will be closed for the rest of this week and next Monday. According to the Maine Department of Transportation, the closure will accommodate work on the new bridge.
The bridge will be closed to all traffic 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m from Sept. 19 to 22 and on Sept. 25.
The new 1,800 foot bridge will diagonally connect the United States and Canada. It will also replace the town’s existing bridge, which is over a century old. The old bridge has had a 5-ton weight limit since 2017. Larger trucks traveling internationally have had to cross at other towns such as Fort Kent and Van Buren as a result of the weight limit.
Paul Merrill, Maine Department of Transportation Communications Director, said the work will involve excavation near one of the abutments.
“Crews have to build a retaining wall but will first be drilling to confirm what’s underneath the road surface,” he said. “There will also be work happening in some of the travel lanes on the Canadian approach near the Canadian customs building.”
The new $97 million bridge will let heavy trucks cross directly into Madawaska. Maine Gov. Janet Mills said last August that the bridge will significantly help people working at Twin Rivers Paper. The paper mill employs residents from both countries and relies on transporting goods across the border.
Officials expect to see traffic on the bridge by December, with the old bridge set for demolition next year.