OXFORD — The town may decide to invest in repairing a bridge on a dead-end street that selectmen originally voted to begin discontinuing.

At the selectmen meeting Thursday, Town Manager Michael Chammings told board members he intended to survey the bridge with an engineer to determine cost estimates for possible repairs.

The bridge over Greeley Brook on Mapledale Road is classified “scour critical” by the Maine Department of Transportation. There’s one home at the end of the road.

According to MDOT, the bridge abutments have been, or have a high potential to be, undermined by water. 

In a letter sent to the board last month, MDOT representative Peter Coughlan said the bridge could be at risk of failure if a future storm brings water high and fast enough to do more damage to its abutments. 

At the selectmen meeting last month, board members voted to begin the process of discontinuing town maintenance on the road. 

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On Thursday, however, Chammings said the town intended to get repair cost estimates for the bridge from an engineering company. 

An MDOT action plan to address the bridge’s condition was “a little less than I thought,” Chammings said. The state agency provided the town with reflective stickers in two different colors to place on the bridge’s abutments at different heights. 

If water passes above the first sticker, the town is obligated to monitor the bridge every 24 hours, Chammings explained. If the water goes above the second sticker, the town is expected to close the bridge to traffic altogether. 

Although the state is responsible to pay for some of the costs to fix the bridge, Chammings said he was told there is no state funding available for repairs. 

An engineer from Main Land Development Consultants agreed to meet with Chammings to survey the bridge and provide repair cost estimates. He anticipated the estimates would be ready by the next selectman meeting Nov. 21. The town will not be charged for the estimates, Chammings said. 

Responding to a citizen’s comment at the meeting, Chammings said the bridge’s condition was due to repeated flooding, not negligent maintenance on the part of the town.  

He said while the board originally voted to look at discontinuing maintenance of the road, the damages the town would have to pay to the Mapledale Road homeowner could be as much or more than the cost of bridge repairs. 

“We didn’t know what the options were going to be until we met with DOT,” Chammings said. “We’ve now met with DOT, we have their information, and the next step is not closing the road, its to look at the engineering of the road and the cost of repair.”

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