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citizens taking a "hard look" at the MDOT's I-395 Rt.9 study

Maine’s Existing Unmet Transportation Needs…

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3.12.2017 – The state of our country’s infrastructure as reported by the ASCE:

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Click here to view the 2017 Infrastructure report.

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2.17.2017 – New report on the state of our state’s bridges:

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Click here to view document with working hyperlinks.

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1.09.2017 – What could be done with the money that will be squandered on 2B-2? How can new projects be considered when there is a $59 million shortfall annually in the current Work Plan?

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Click here to view the MaineDOT 2017-2018-2019 Work Plan.

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1.03.2017 – Just issued today – the latest and greatest 3 year MaineDOT Work Plan:

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Click here to view MaineDOT 2017 – 2019 Work Plan.

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11.29.2016 – Maine chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers report on Maine’s Infrastructure dated 11.28.2016:

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Click here to view the 2016 ASCE report on Maine’s Infrastructure.

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11.01.2016: Email sent today.

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Click here to view TRIP report.

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7.01.2016: Remember the condition of our bridges in the state? 33% of the total number of bridges in Maine are either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. It’s not only the bridges on some back country route that are in need of repair. TRIP reminds us of the “state” of our state’s bridges on the interstate highway system. AND – once again we find that Maine is in the top ten worst nationwide for the amount of structurally deficient bridges on our interstates. Should we fix our deficient bridges or spend waste $61 million on another boondoggle bypass?? First it was the Caribou Bypass and now it is the Presque Isle Bypass – soon it will be the North Brewer Bypass!!

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Click here to view document with working hyperlinks.

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1.29.2016: Another snapshot of a future newsletter comparing the Jan2015 MaineDOT 2015-2016-2017 Work Plan and the Jan2016 MaineDOT 2016-2017-2018 Work Plan. No comments necessary…

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1.29.2016: Another snapshot of 2 pages from a future newsletter reference MaineDOT’s 2014 Report titled ” Keeping Our Bridges Safe”.

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Note: MaineDOT’s 2016-2017-2018 Work Plan funds bridges at approximately $107 million each year of the new 3 year plan – an annual $33 million ($99 million over the life of the plan) in unmet bridge needs still exists. This increase in bridge funding is dependent on the passage of $100 million G.O. bonds in 2017 and 2018 and $25 million GARVEE bonds in 2016, 2017 and 2018.

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Click here to view MaineDOT KOBS report.

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1.28.2016: Another snapshot of a future newsletter page. Have you ever wondered what 2B-2’s $61 million would buy? So did the ACOE – their DEIS statement was of course not substantive, but is as pertinent today as it was in July 2012 – wouldn’t that $61 million “be better spent on other unmet needs in the state?” Using estimates from the MaineDOT Work Plan, these are representative of just some of the unmet transportation needs that could be funded if the MaineDOT wasn’t so intent on squandering that $61 million on a deficient alternative named 2B-2. It’s no accident that I used bridge repair projects and pavement preservation in this demo as the new 3-year Work Plan contains $99 million (91 bridges @$1.09 million each) in unmet bridge repair needs and $105 million (327 miles @$321,000/mile) in unmet pavement preservation needs for a total $204 million shortfall over the next 3 years in the Core Highway and Bridge Programs.

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Click here to view MaineDOT 2016-2017-2018 Work Plan.

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1.26.2016: Wouldn’t the $61 million needed to construct 2B-2 be better spent on the unmet transportation needs of our state?

 

Maine has a total of 2,419 bridges – 15% are structurally deficient (364 bridges) and 18% are functionally obsolete (432 bridges).

 

Penobscot County has a total of 284 bridges – 13% are structurally deficient (37 bridges) and 14% are functionally obsolete (39 bridges).

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Click here to view TRIP Report on Maine’s bridges.

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1.21.2016: Snapshot of another page – MaineDOT has never addressed this statement in their October 2003 Technical Memorandum reference any alternative with a Route 9 connection point west of Route 46, those questions were long buried as not substantive. These derogatory statements need to be addressed – they forewarn 2B-2’s future – they cannot  be answered with a flippant “hard look at Route 9” remark…

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Click here to view Boondoggles 2 document.

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1.02.2016:  $2.8 million has been squandered away on this study, now in the 16th year, to select a twice removed deficient alternative (2B-2), that met only 20% of purpose and needs in April 2009, at an estimated cost of $61 million to construct!! Don’t you think that money could have been better spent on the unmet transportation needs of the state of Maine? MaineDOT’s 2015-2016-2017 Work Plan includes annual unmet bridge needs of $70 million with an overall annual $119 million budget shortfall in the bridge and roads program. All that being said, they still want to spend another $61 million on 2B-2!!

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12.16.2015: The MaineDOT may have shown their hand on the future of up to 30 more bridges in rural Maine at a time when the MaineDOT can’t even afford to maintain the roads and bridges we already have. They bemoan an annual $70 million in unmet bridge needs while vigorously promoting an expenditure of $61 million on an alternative (2B-2) that only met 20% (1 of 5) of purpose and needs in Apr 2009. 2B-2 was given the appearance of meeting purpose and needs by Dec 2010 by changing the study to make 2B-2 fit!! Note their use of: “inconvenience and angst”. They just don’t get it…

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Click here to view complete Portland Herald article.

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Click here to view complete WCSH Channel 6 article.

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12.03.2015: Portland Herald Article (excerpted).

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12.03.2015: Bangor Daily News Article.

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10.28.2015: Bangor Daily News article reference a new report by TRIP on the condition of Maine’s bridges. We patiently wait for the I-395/Route 9 Transportation Study FHWA Record of Decision (ROD) at the same time that a new transportation bond is awaiting voters, and TRIP reminds us once again of the poor condition of our state’s bridges. On one hand, the MaineDOT can’t afford to maintain the roads and bridges we already have while documenting $70 million in unmet bridge needs per year in their current work plan, but on the other hand they have no problem supporting a $61 million deficient project (2B-2) that does not satisfy the original Purpose and Needs and is nothing more than a band-aide on a problem that doesn’t exist anymore; the original concern was to get logging trucks off Route 46 and now that the mill is gone Canadian truckers have now become the replacement concern!!??  Aren’t there enough unmet transportation needs in this state that could better use 2B-2’s $61 million?

 

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Click here to view complete TRIP report.

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10/25/2015: A new transportation bond and continued budgetary shortfalls – what you need to know…

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8/06/2015: Federal Highway Administration Road and Bridge Data by State (excerpted) updated July 9, 2015.

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8/03/2015: I was asked the other day how many bridges the MaineDOT was responsible for and here is an updated (2014) number from MaineDOT’s “Keeping Our Bridges Safe”.

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Click here to view the complete KOBS report.

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8/03/2015: “Legislators kicked the can down the road for another three months…”

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Click here to view complete article.

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7/9/2015: “Did you not know this already?”

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“DOT officials say they spend $70 million on bridges,
but they say they should be spending twice that.”
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And the MaineDOT/FHWA wants to spend $61 million to construct an alternative (2B-2) that only satisfies one (20%) of the original 5 Study Purpose and Needs!! Couldn’t that $61 million be better spent on the unmet transportation needs of the state of Maine?

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6/15/2015: Transportation for America has updated their deficient bridge identification program with current 2015 FHWA data.

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FACTS: There are 13 structurally deficient bridges within ten miles of where 2B-2 connects to I-395 (expanded view) in Brewer. An average of 119,842 vehicles cross these deficient 13 bridges every day. The current MaineDOT workplan contains unmet bridge needs of $70 million per year.

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6/14/2015: Just a reminder where Maine ranks out in the percentage of poor condition major rural roads (8th worst) and the percentage of structurally deficient rural bridges (9th worst) across the 50 states per the latest TRIP report on rural roads. Shouldn’t this be the priority for the MaineDOT and not the construction of a connector that does not satisfy the Study Purpose and Needs?

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6/10/2015: An interesting comment from MaineDOT Commissioner Bernhardt on August 1st 2011. Cancelling the I395/Route 9 Transportation Study would free up $61 million that could go a long way to support the unmet transportation needs of the State of Maine.

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Click here to read complete official MaineDOT press release.

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6/10/2015: A Press Herald article dated 5.20.2015 with some interesting observations.

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“…as the transportation agency struggles to maintain the existing infrastructure.”

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“…the money collected from the gas tax can fund the engineering and 

design of road and bridge projects, but not actual construction.”

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 “…we don’t have a penny to spend on a road or a bridge. Nothing.”

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The I-395/Route 9 Transportation Study has been ongoing since the year 2000. By Sept 2010 (3EIK-2) the original preferred alternative was removed and replaced with alternative 2B-2, an alternative that does not satisfy the original Study Purpose and Needs. 2B-2’s coronation was not known by the general public until January 2012. How much has this study cost us so far? I believe it has cost $2.75+ million to date and the study continues. Why expend those kind of funds when we apparently do not have the money to even maintain the roads and bridges we already have, let alone spend another $61+ million on an alternative that many do not see the need for.

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5/26/2015: Has Maine’s transportation budgetary environment improved one iota since Commissioner Bernhardt made this statement on August 1, 2011? Absolutely not!! And in fact, record shortfalls in the current MaineDOT work plan (@ $119 million per year) say it may have even worsened…

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5/26/2015: Reuters reports on the state of Maine’s bridges.

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Click here to view complete article:

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5/26/2015: ARTBA Profile of State of Maine Bridges.

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5/24/2015: ROADS & BRIDGES reports on the state of Maine’s Roads and Bridges. No matter who reports on the current condition of Maine’s roads and bridges, the facts speak for themselves. Not one NEW project should be taken on until our state’s existing infrastructure is repaired and/or replaced to an acceptable level. When 33% of the state’s rural bridges need immediate attention, is that acceptable? When only 27% of the state’s rural roads are rated good while 74% of the rest of our state’s rural roads are rated fair and mediocre to poor, is that acceptable? Should we all be proud that there are basically as many rural roads rated poor (26%) as there are rated good (27%)? And at the same time that our infrastructure crumbles, MaineDOT/FHWA promotes a preferred alternative (2B-2) for the I-395/Route 9 Transportation Study with a $61 million price tag that does not satisfy the original Purpose and Needs of the Study – is that acceptable?

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5/20/2015: Channel 2 WLBZ report on Maine’s Rural Roads and Bridges from TRIP.

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5/19/2015: Latest TRIP report on rural roads in the United States/State of Maine.

The “Top (WORST in the NATION) 20”:

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74% of Maine’s rural arterial and major collector roads are rated as fair to mediocre to poor; only 27% are rated as good – that’s not something that any of us should be proud about!!

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15% of Maine’s rural bridges are Structurally Deficient AND 16% of Maine’s rural bridges are Functionally Obsolete – that’s a total of 31% (619) of Maine’s rural bridges that need immediate attention!!

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Click here to view complete TRIP Report Appendix D

Click here to view complete TRIP Report Appendix E

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How can we possibly afford to make these necessary repairs when the MDOT’s current work plan includes a shortfall of $119 million per year NOT INCLUDING the $61 million cost of a deficient connector (2B-2) that does not satisfy the original Study Purpose and Needs and many see no reason for??

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Click here for BDN Letter to the Editor dated February 24, 2015.

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4/29/2015: MBTA’s contest reveals some very disturbing facts:

“Between 46 and 91 percent of the pavement on our state’s arterial and collector roads is ranked poor or worse, compared to 31 percent nationwide.” “On average, Maine bridges are older and in worse condition than rest of the nation’s bridges (15% of Maine bridges are structurally deficient and another 18% are functionally obsolete).”

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And we need to construct 2B-2, an alternative that does not meet the original Purpose and Needs of the I-395/Route 9 Transportation Study? WHY?? Couldn’t that $61 million be better spent on the unmet transportation needs of our state?

 

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4/29/2015: ‘What is the worst road in Maine?’  “According to MaineDOT, we should be spending between $120 and $150 million more every year…” And yet, the I-395/Route 9 Transportation Study – with a construction cost of $61 million in 2011 dollars – keeps moving on. How many potholes could be repaired with that $61 million plus the $2.75 million already spent on the study so far?

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3/16/2015: Latest FHWA data (December 31, 2014) on the condition of Maine’s bridges indicates one-third (32.9%) of Maine’s bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. MaineDOT reports 72% of Maine’s bridges are in fair to poor condition; the current 2015-2016-2017 MaineDOT Work Plan contains a $119 million per year shortfall in the Highway and Bridges program including $70 million in unmet bridge needs per year-YET-the I-395/Route 9 Transportation Study continues…

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2/19/2015:  The MaineDOT has just issued a report on the condition of our state’s bridges. Remember that the MaineDOT currently has an approximate $119 million per year shortfall in the department’s highway and bridge program, including a $70 million unmet bridge need per year as reported in the 2015-2016-2017 Work Plan. Chart #4 indicates that 28 % of bridges are rated as good and 72% are rated as fair to poor. Chart# 5 indicates that the percentage of structurally deficient bridges in Maine are increasing when national and New England percentages are decreasing. YET, as bad as this news is, the I-395/Route 9 Transportation Study moves on…

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OPED provided to the BDN – published on May 15, 2012:

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