The I-395/Route 9 Connector is nothing more than a band-aide fix; a short-term project with no long-term benefits. Please view the excerpt below from the Draft EIS page 258 of Appendix C and note the highlighted “less than YES” answer under the Meets Needs System Linkage column: “In the near-term(Year 2035)”.
This project does not meet the long-term needs and thus does not provide long-term benefits; the DOT can’t have it both ways – in MaineDOT’s own words this project is a near-term (short-term) project and thus does not meet Governor Mills’ Infrastructure Policy to “invest in projects that will show a long-term benefit, versus short-term appearances.”
2B-2 is the ultimate photo-op and nothing more; unplanned and unfunded long-term needs have been punted 20 years into an unknown future for your children to pay for. If Maine can’t afford to fix the roads we already have, how will they afford to rehabilitate this boondoggle twenty years from now?
MaineDOT’s mandate was to provide a limited-access connection from I-395 in Brewer directly to Route 9 EAST of Route 46, intentionally bypassing the intersection of Route 9/46 and the historic Village of East Eddington – that was the system linkage need for the first decade of this study and the MaineDOT is well aware that in the future this connector will have to be rehabilitated to provide the system linkage that was covertly shelved in September 2010 and still ignored today.
The following documents are a good review of how we got here and how the 2B-2 alternative goes against all previous DOT mandates. These documents were sent to Janet Mills before and after she was elected; they were ignored and sent on to the DOT for dismissal…
The $61 million cost (2012) of this boondoggle ballooned in 2020 by +70.5% to $104 million at a time when the DOT cannot even afford to minimally maintain the bridges and roads we drive on every day!!
7.22.2021 – Article from the BDN website concerning mitigation for this project. Good article, but many questions still remain unanswered:
What will this mitigation cost Maine taxpayers?
Am I the only one that finds this selection more than curious?
Who will profit from this mitigation?
Why don’t they mitigate adjacent to the original project mitigation?
I can answer that because I have raised it several times since early 2012; the maps that the MaineDOT still use show a definite area around the end of the connector that is labeled as “I-395 PROTECTED WETLANDS” and the DOT is blasting right thru it!! This map was downloaded on 7.21.2021!! The DOT conveniently cannot find any history of this previous mitigation – yet – this didn’t just happen – someone thought it did enough to update official state mapping. This was the reason 2B was originally cancelled at the start of the study. Don’t believe what you see with your eyes – the DOT will tell you what to believe!!
7.02.2021 – An OPED from the BDN. We have no money; the blue ribbon committee was a failure and the actual annual shortfall is $332 million…
6.22.2021 – Steel costs have gone up by 2 to 3 times. So, what’s the cost of this project now? That’s a simple question that nobody seems to want to answer.
5.29.2021 – I would bet that most people passed over this without knowing what it was!!
5.24.2021 – A recent BDN Letter to the Editor raises the question: what is the real shortfall in the DOT’s annual roads and bridges program?
5.19.2021 – An update found on the MaineDOT project website. Several neighbors in the Eastern Avenue area, even though not directly abutting 2B-2, are losing a portion of their properties due to utility easements – meeting with the DOT last week.
4.11.2012 – The Bangor Daily News reports on the state of our state’s bridges:
4.08.2021 – Found the actual permit last week on Maine’s DEP website – quite extensive!!
Too big to download – click here to view.
4.06.2021 – Review the news from the first quarter of 2021:
3.25.2012 – The Federal Highway Administration reports on the condition of Maine’s bridges. They are as complicit as the MaineDOT – they know the needs of the state of Maine that remain unfunded while they pursue a project that many see no need for…
1,746 (70.63%) of Maine’s bridges are rated in fair to poor condition!!
3.20.2021 – The MaineDOT – once again – says one thing and does another:
“…on or about February 19, 2021…The application will be filed for public inspection at the Department of Environmental Protection’s website at: https://www.maine.gov/dep/projects.html. A copy of the application may also be seen at the municipal offices in Brewer, Eddington, and Holden, Maine.”
As of this exact second – a month later – there is nothing relating to this project on Maine’s DEP website, and nothing has been sent to the city per the Brewer City Manager. So – how can you comment on something that apparently doesn’t exist. This is just another check in the box with no public comments wanted…
2.12.2021 – Update from the study website:
The project is on track to advertise for bids in September 2021. There have been two contracts advertised to prebuy concrete box culverts and another one will advertise very soon. The right of way process is ongoing. Deeds have been researched and are currently being mapped. In the coming months affected property owners will be contacted for the appraisal process to begin. The option to buy is being exercised on a wetland mitigation parcel and should be finalized in the near future. Also a modification to the update on October 22, 2020 “Common borrow (import) quantity is 73,000 cy. This amount could be significantly lowered with light weight fills. We are still exploring the geotechnical aspect of light weight fills currently.” Route 9/I-395 Connector Updates: 02/01/21
2.12.2021 – Just received this in the mail ($6.97 postage) from the MaineDOT:
2.07.2021 – Zoom meeting with the MaineDOT and the JSC Transportation to discuss the 2021 Edition of the 3 Year Work Plan:
At 58:32 in the above January 28th ZOOM meeting, Commissioner Van Note makes a statement about the I-395/Route 9 connector: “I am sometimes asked—and it is a legitimate question—why are you still doing that? The reason is there’s a whole bunch of federal money lined up to do that, that’s in the use it or lose it mode if you don’t do it, and also it would not only affect that money, one of the reasons we’ve been so successful in getting federal grants is that we’ve always used the money they gave us when we said for what we said; we’re reliable, if you will, and that works good with the agencies that score because they want to look good too.”
2.05.2021 – Article from the Portland Press Herald:
2.04.2021: TRIP has just released a report on the sad condition of Maine’s roads and bridges. How the DOT continues to justify spending $104 million on the connector when our roads and bridges are in disrepair is striking.
1.28.2021 – I questioned the lack of transparency with the MaineDOT’s statement that the $232 million annual shortfall in the roads and bridges program from October of 2019 is “generally consistent” with annual shortfalls in the 2021 Edition of the 3 Year MaineDOT work plan. The MaineDOT appears to not be able to –OR– refuses to update that pre-pandemic shortfall they themselves identified 15 months ago. What happened to the $31 million in loss of tax revenue in the Highway Fund as reported last summer? What happened to the Governor’s demand to lower the Highway Fund by 5% on August 6, 2020? What happened to today’s request from the Governor that all departments make up the for the loss of $100 million in the state budget -OR- the PPP loans will be taxed as income? IMO, the DOT is more than happy to go with the $232 million shortfall as it is probably tens of millions more…
1.25.2021 – The BDN reports that the connector is the most expensive project in the work plan and will start in September:
1.25.2021 – MaineDOT News Release – the connector is the first listed “notable” project:
1.25.2021 – PPH article on the new DOT Work Plan. Don’t you wish you could run your household as the state DOT runs?
1.25.2021 – The new DOT Work Plan is online – here’s an excerpt relating to the annual unmet transportation need shortfall as of today (actual it’s about 15 months ago!).
1.14.2021 – As could be predicted – the MaineDOT is crying for money and now want a $150 million bond this year, after already spending half of the last bond prematurely. Want some money? Cancel the $104 million connector that Brewer doesn’t want!!
1.05.2021 – Maine’s Highway Fund as of 12.01.2020 had a shortfall of $28,593,667.00!!
1.04.2021 – As we await the annual MaineDOT Work Plan for 2021/2022/2023 – here’s the condition of our infrastructure per the ASCE:
12.31.3020 – A compilation of what happened in the last quarter of 2020: