A plan that Maine Department of Transportation officials say would minimize accidents on the Hogan Road bridge would be the first of its kind in Maine.

The design is called a 'Diverging Diamond Interchange' and it would solve several traffic problems on the bridge that carries traffic over I-95. Currently, MDOT officials say the Exit 187/Hogan Road interchange has congestion, safety concerns, and no adequate bicycle or pedestrian access. With another 10 years of usefulness left in the bridge, this plan would address the issues now, without having to replace it. If it's built, it will be the first one in Maine, and one of only 66 in the nation.

According to the state's website, the three main issues with the current set-up center around safety, congestion, and access. Officials say there are three high crash locations on the bridge, with 94 accidents in the last three years. 36% of those involved injuries. With about 35,000 vehicles passing through the interchange per day, it's the busiest in the state. And the lack of sidewalks or bike lanes make it dangerous for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The Diverging Diamond Interchange would have traffic flowing in a way that would prevent crossing multiple lanes of traffic on the bridge. That change would reduce crashes by approximately 50%, increase mobility and reduce congestion. And the dedicated bike/pedestrian path, protected by a barrier, would make it safer while not widening the existing bridge.

At an informational meeting on Thursday night, department officials said they don't expect the project, which will cost between $3, and $5 million dollars, to begin until 2018, at the earliest. However, public support could help to release that money sooner. For more information on the Diverging Diamond Interchange proposal, log onto the MDOT's website.