Dixfield bridge construction moving along after delays

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DIXFIELD — Residents will see portions of the new Webb River Bridge being put in place on Wednesday and Thursday.

Phil Pinkham, Maine Department of Transportation resident engineer, said two large beams were delivered to the construction site and two more would arrive Wednesday.

The $2.8 million project that started in May 2011 has seen a few hiccups along the way but is still scheduled to be completed by October, he said.

The project was delayed for a week due to issues with a temporary bridge.

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“The original temporary bridge was the wrong width so MDOT had to rent another one which held up the project for a week,” Pinkham said.

The project also had issues with laying utility and sewer lines which caused a delay.

On Tuesday, a force main that’s used to pump sewer up the hill to Mexico arrived. Pinkham said he had concerns that the temporary sewer main would freeze during the cold temperatures but so far that has not been a problem.

Two large beams and a crane were at a turnout near the Gregory Inn and two more beams were expected to be delivered and installed toward the end of the week.

Pinkham said he did not expect traffic to be stalled any longer than it has in the past and variable message signs would be used to inform the public of any traffic delays.

During Monday night’s selectmen’s meeting, Selectman Norine Clark raised concerns about how the construction has hindered business in town.

The Blue Moose, a convenience store within feet of the bridge, was forced to close its doors in November, owner Brenda Skidgell of Dixfield said.

Skidgell, and her husband, William, owned the store and a garage next door.

Skidgell said the Maine Department of Transportation gave her husband compensation because he would not be able to use the garage but failed to answer calls for help concerning the store.

“I’m hoping to reopen once everything is finished up,” she said. “I just don’t know if I can afford to.”

ecox@sunjournal.com

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