DIXFIELD – Construction of a new
bridge over the Webb River has been delayed for a year.

Town Manager Eugene Skibitsky said
problems with the state’s cash flow has moved the funding for the
multimillion dollar bridge from the first year of the budget to the second year. He said the Maine Department of
Transportation notified the town of its change of plans on Aug. 6.

“It was a surprise to me. All
indications were that the project was on schedule until Aug. 6,”
Skibitsky said.

Jerry Quirion, utility and railroad
coordinator for bridges with the MDOT, said Thursday afternoon that
when the cash flow problem arose, the department had to delay several
bridge projects around the state, including the bridge that connects
the towns of Dixfield and Mexico. That bridge was in good enough
condition to put off replacement, he said. If it wasn’t, he said the
state would have replaced it as planned.

Although the town of Dixfield and the
Mexico Sewer District’s inability to come to an agreement on sewer
line use and costs was not the reason for delaying construction,
Quirion said it was a factor when the department had to review all
planned bridge projects.

Because the pipe that carries sewage
from Dixfield to the Mexico Sewer District line is attached to the
current bridge, the district and the town have been negotiating a new
agreement.

The state had asked the two to come to
an agreement in time for the project to go out bid, which would have
been October, Quirion said.

Skibitsky said Dixfield’s latest offer
to the Mexico Sewer District has been rejected, and plans are for
further negotiations.

Selectmen Norine Clarke and Bettina
Martin have served as negotiators and are trying to set up
another date to discuss the agreement with the Mexico Sewer District
trustees, Skibitsky said.

With the delay in state funding,
Skibitsky said his town will be ready with an agreement.

He said it also gives the
town time to search for federal stimulus grants to replace the sewer
line that runs under the bridge. The town had planned to borrow about
$250,000 for the work.

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