Public meeting set on Martin Memorial Bridge replacement

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RUMFORD — A public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, June 8, in Rumford Falls Auditorium to discuss replacement of Martin Memorial Bridge.

The 55-year-old state bridge spans the Androscoggin River at Rumford Point near the intersection of Routes 2 and 232. It is three spans, 600 feet long, and steel-trussed.

The estimated replacement cost is $13 million.

Representatives of the Maine Department of Transportation will attend the  meeting to hear concerns, receive comments and answer questions for anyone with an interest, according to an MDOT report this past week.

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The MDOT is currently investigating several alignment options for bridge replacement. These include on or adjacent to the existing alignment, and upstream or downstream of the current alignment.

The various conceptual alignment options, including benefits and potential impacts, will be presented at the meeting.

In February, MDOT project engineer Leanne Timberlake said state funding is tight right now, so replacement of the bridge would be delayed until at least the construction season of 2014-15.

At a scoping session last year, an MDOT engineer said the bridge could be rehabilitated at an estimated cost of $11.3 million. But even with extensive work it would not provide a wider or taller bridge. It also wouldn’t address the eroded pilings issue.

Because of the span’s substandard height, many trucks have struck the steel “cap” on both ends of the bridge and caused damage.

The span, known to MDOT as Bridge 3248, is on the MDOT Bridge Watch List, meaning it could be subject to weight limitations at a future date.

“Truckers should avoid these bridges whenever possible, as increased truck weights may hasten the need for posting,” states a report about the Bridge Watch List on the MDOT website.

Martin Memorial Bridge is in MDOT’s Four-Year Bridge Investment Plan of April 2008, which includes $160 million from former Gov. John Baldacci’s bill, “An Act to Keep Bridges Safe.”

During the past dozen years or so, several similarly styled steel-trussed bridges in the area have been replaced by steel-girder bridges because of the taller and wider trucks that now use them.

Another such bridge replacement was the Gilbertville Bridge in Canton. That one also has a snowmobile lane.

Those attending the June 8 meeting are asked to use the rear entrance to Rumford Falls Auditorium on River Street.

For more information, contact Timberlake at 624-3422 or Leanne.Timberlake@maine.gov or write her at Project Manager, Maine Department of Transportation, Bridge Program, Child Street, 16 State House Station, Augusta, ME 04333-0016.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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