AUBURN — Work on a Hotel Road bridge may still be a year away, but neighbors and residents can get a look at the state's construction plans at a June 13 presentation.
The Maine Department of Transportation plans to move quickly in 2013, replacing the narrow 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 widen the bridge from 22 feet to 34, according to Project Manager Nate Benoit.
"Structurally, it's in decent shape — fair condition," Benoit said. "The biggest issue now is that it's extremely narrow. When you pass a truck in either direction or when two trucks pass each other, it's not a good situation."
The transportation department is hosting a formal meeting to discuss the project at 6 p.m. June 13 in Auburn Hall.
Benoit said traffic counts show the bridge averages 10,000 vehicles daily.
Plans call for the new bridge to remain as one lane in either direction, with the addition of shoulders and room for bicycles.
"With that kind of volume, it's more of a safety concern," he said. "You have 12 foot lanes and 8 foot shoulders leading up to it, then it necks-down to this little 22 foot bridge."
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, he said.
Plans call for building the new bridge upstream from the existing bridge first, then removing the old bridge and sliding the new one into place.
"It's actually much more involved than that," he said. "The challenge here is removing the old bridge and we'll need a big crane to do that — or cranes plural. We'll have to remove the old concrete deck, and then the truss and that all takes a little bit of time. Then we need to get the new foundations in place and drive pile and place a new concrete foundation. And then you can slide the bridge over."
Hotel Road will be closed at the bridge during that work, he said, with traffic detoured around Minot Avenue and Washington Street.
"Normally a project like this, we'd keep the road closed for three to four months," he said. "But this is more of an urban area with much more traffic, including emergency vehicles. So that's why we're looking at the accelerated construction techniques."