MEXICO – Replacement of the Thad White Bridge, a 90-foot span that connects Mexico and Dixfield off Coburn Avenue, may happen this summer.

Town Manager John Madigan said he and Dixfield Town Manager Tom Richmond met with representatives of the Maine Department of Transportation earlier this week to learn whether the state will pay for half the replacement cost.

“We received a verbal commitment for the state to fund half the cost,” Madigan said Thursday.

Helping the project advance, a town in Massachusetts decided not to take delivery of a 90-foot-long galvanized steel bridge. Because of that, the manufacturers are offering it to Mexico and Dixfield at $110,000, substantially less than the original price, Madigan said.

Both towns will place articles on their town meeting warrants to ask for money to pay for the bridge. That should be less than $50,000 each, financed over 10 years or less.

Madigan said the towns are to get costs for removing the old bridge, crane rental, bolting down the new bridge, construction of concrete footings, and other things that must be done before a new bridge can be installed. Then, the state will confirm its willingness to pay half the total cost.

Madigan said an increase in the cost of license plates, from $25 to $35, recently enacted by the Legislature, will go toward building Maine bridges, which will help Mexico and Dixfield.

The existing bridge is the only access to a couple of homes on the Mexico side. Because of the deterioration of the bridge, emergency vehicles are banned from crossing it. Madigan said a couple of weeks ago, the bridge weight limit was lowered from eight to three tons, the lowest limit allowed.

“This summer could be the end of its life,” he said.

If all goes as planned, Mexico would borrow the total amount for the bridge replacement, then Dixfield and the state would pay their shares.

Also at Wednesday’s board meeting, selectmen set a public hearing on a proposed amendment to the yard sale ordinance and on the proposed 2008-2009 municipal budget, and a special town meeting to vote on extending the interlocal agreement with Med-Care Ambulance Service for 6:30 p.m. May 21,

Voters will act on the municipal budget at referendum on June 10.

Also, a public hearing on a proposal to include sections of Carlton and Osgood avenues as part of the all-terrain vehicle trail system was set for 6:30 p.m. May 28.

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