AUBURN — A project to widen a Hotel Road bridge has picked up a $580,000 boost from the federal government.
Maine Department of Transportation Project Manager Nate Benoit said the state plans work to replace the Littlefield Bridge, where Hotel Road crosses the Little Androscoggin River between Merrow and Martindale roads.
Plans call for building a new metal structure that will be 34 feet wide instead of 22. Slated for next summer, it is estimated to cost $2.3 million and be paid with a mix of federal grants and state capital improvement money.
On Friday, Maine's congressional representatives announced that the project would get a $580,000 grant because it uses new materials. The grant was announced by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Rep. Mike Michaud, D-Maine, through the Highways For Life program, a pilot program designed to promote more durable road repairs.
Collins is the senior Republican on the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee and Michaud is a member of the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
Benoit said the project uses a specially coated composite frame in precast concrete panels instead of metal rebar.
"The rebar can corrode and spall," he said. "The composite shouldn't do that because it won't corrode so we should have a much longer life for the bridge."
Plans call for building the new bridge upstream from the existing one, removing the old one and sliding the new one into place.
The new bridge will be one lane in both directions, with the addition of shoulders and room for bicycles.
State crews will have to close the bridge at some point, but will work to make that closure as brief as possible — between 30 and 45 days. Hotel Road will be closed at the bridge during that work with traffic detoured around Minot Avenue and Washington Street.