WILTON — Workers began preparations Tuesday to close the Canal Street bridge and start work this week to replace it.
There are a couple of design issues to work out but equipment is scheduled to move in Friday, Harry Pottle, construction supervisor for T Buck Construction of Auburn, said Tuesday at the site.
A slight change from the old bridge will make the new span more user-friendly, Pottle said. Less elevation and a more gradual slope are planned from Main Street across the small bridge spanning Wilson Stream at the foot of Wilson Lake, he said.
The new one-lane bridge includes a sidewalk and uses new concrete abutments and precast bridge beams, he said.
Pottle foresees a mid-November finish to the project barring any surprises or delays once excavation starts.
The town sewer department has installed a temporary line for construction and will replace it with an insulated permanent line, taking out the temporary line when the work is finished, Clayton Putnam, superintendent of the water and sewer departments, said.
"We've been blessed to have this begin out of season," he said. The area is popular for boat access to the lake.
The project was intended to start in the spring and finish by the town's Blueberry Festival in August.
Traffic to the boat ramp on Wilson Lake needs to go via Canal Street. There will be parking available for vehicles and boat trailers during construction, although the space near the boat ramp is tight. Less use of the ramp is expected during the fall construction.
A crew from T Buck began installing signs on Tuesday to alert drivers to the closure of the one-lane bridge.
When Maine Department of Transportation announced its intention to remove the bridge and not replace it, selectmen and Town Manager Rhonda Irish met with Chip Getchell of the MDOT bridge maintenance division early in 2009, seeking a way to keep the bridge.
Removal of the bridge would have left a narrow entrance/exit behind the Bass building to the boat landing and parking area, unless the town replaced it at a cost of about $100,000 to taxpayers.
Getchell agreed to a site inspection in April 2009. Selectmen then sent a letter requesting help with the bridge, which brought the bridge committee to Wilton to look over the concerns voiced by selectmen. The committee went back and decided to replace the bridge.