DIXFIELD – The 70-year-old Webb River Bridge on Route 2 that connects Mexico and Dixfield is scheduled to be replaced next summer.

A public meeting on the plan drew about 20 people last week, some with concerns about drainage, others wanting assurance that the new bridge will have a sidewalk.

Maine Department of Transportation engineer Mark Hume said HNTB of Westbrook is working on the design of the steel girder, concrete-surface bridge.

In addition to planning for a sidewalk, the designers also must figure out how to attach the town’s sewer main to the new bridge without disrupting service for too long.

Hume said the project is expected to cost about $2.3 million, plus another $500,000 for about a quarter mile of road work on the Mexico end of the bridge.

The entire project is expected to be completed in early 2010.

He said 10,000 vehicles a day cross the narrow bridge, which will be widened to two 12-foot travel lanes with 8-foot shoulders. If a sidewalk is built, it will run along only one side of the bridge. The existing bridge has narrower travel lanes and sidewalks on both sides.

During construction, he said two lanes of traffic will likely be maintained most of the time because a temporary bridge will be built to accommodate one lane of traffic, while the second lane will remain on the bridge. He said the new bridge will be built about 15 feet downstream from the existing bridge, and will be about 10 feet longer.

Hume said bids for the bridge project will go out early next summer.

Route 2 projects

While the MDOT is preparing for a new bridge project in the town, another highway project a few miles east is almost complete.

Work on the $4.5 million, 2-mile Route 2 rebuild is done for the winter. Remaining to be completed in the spring of 2009 is laying the final coat of pavement, erosion measures, and paving of some driveways along the construction section.

That project began in April 2008, and included closure of a rest area on Newton Brook, and replacement of a major culvert. K & K Excavation of Turner is the general contractor.

Another nearly 2-mile rebuild along Route 2 was completed a couple of years ago just east of the current highway project at a cost of $4.1 million.

And a third section of highway reconstruction is tentatively planned for 2010, if there is funding. That includes the sharp corner along Route 2 near the MDOT garage.

Hume said about 2.8 miles of construction is planned at an estimated cost of about $4.5 million. It would run from the top of the hill, through the rear of Twin Rivers Lumber Co., then to Hall Hill Road.

He said such highway projects are funded 80 percent by the federal government and 20 percent by the state government.



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