RUMFORD — A public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 16, in Rumford Falls Auditorium to discuss improvements to the Haverhill Bridge.

This is the 365-foot, concrete-and-steel-girder span that provides access to the NewPage Inc. paper mill and to Brookfield Power from upper Congress Street behind Rite Aid.

The state owns the bridge, which was built in 1964 in the same place as the previous bridge, Ben Condon, Maine Department of Transportation project manager, said Wednesday afternoon in Augusta.

“What we’re proposing is to actually remove the bridge and to provide an access way to the mill and to the electrical company, Brookfield Power, to maintain access to them,” Condon said.

“It’s still early in the process. We don’t know that if when this project is done, it’s going to be property owned by the mill and the roadway maintained by the mill or if we’re going to keep it a public way.”

In the past, the bridge spanned water in the canal system, but since the canal was realigned, the state believes a less costly road could take its place.

“The canal used to run underneath the bridge but it no longer does,” Condon said.

“So currently, we have a bridge over no water and it’s adjacent to the treatment center, so my feeling when first kicking this project off was to put some sort of road in with a buffer because if something ever happened with that treatment facility, there would be less likely of a chance for that draining out into the Androscoggin.”

“Bridges are expensive to maintain, whereas roads, while they still have to be maintained, they’re not nearly as costly as the bridge,” he said.

Additionally, Condon said he hopes to learn from people who attend the meeting whether the street that crosses the bridge is actually called upper Congress or River street. He said he’s seen it both ways on maps and been told the same by various officials.

“We’re hoping to get a general feel, what does the public call it and what does the town call it so we can come up with one official name for it,” he said.

“We don’t know where the confusion started from, but we know that it’s there.”

For more information, contact Condon at 592-0921, or [email protected].

[email protected]

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