RUMFORD — Neither town officials nor the public attended Wednesday night’s informational meeting on the state’s plan to replace the Meadow Brook culvert on Andover Road.

The 1949 culvert is 2.29 miles north of the intersection of Route 2 over Meadow Brook, just beyond the Jed Martin Road.

Maine Department of Transportation Bridge Program project manager Stephen Bodge said the MDOT will shut down Andover Road at the site for three weeks during the 2015 project.

“If we can build this project with a road closure, we feel we can save money in not dealing with traffic,” Bodge said. “That way, we get a better project because we’re not dealing with halves; we’re doing it all at one time and, certainly, we can save time.”

Traffic will be routed onto Jed Martin and Whippoorwill roads to Route 2. Signs may be posted telling heavy truck traffic going to Andover to stay on Route 2 and take Route 5 to avoid having to detour onto narrower roads.

Tyler Hjelm, MDOT project designer, said the annual average daily traffic through that area of Andover Road  is 750 passenger cars. Logging truck or heavy truck traffic makes up 9 percent.

“Those two roads aren’t in bad shape, but you don’t want to pound them with heavy trucks,” Bodge said. “And passenger cars at 750 a day isn’t going to hurt too much.

“We’ll have to make some sort of agreement with the town, because those are town roads,” he said. “We’ll shut down the road for three weeks. That’s full closure, but, of course, the whole project will take a little bit longer than that overall.”

He said the project is estimated to cost the state $440,000 and will go out to bid in October 2014. There is no local share required and no federal money will be used.

Construction and closing Andover Road won’t occur until July, August or September of 2015 due to waterway restrictions.

“Generally, we can’t get into the water until the middle of July, so most likely, we will try to get this project done or at least the (road) closure piece before school starts,” Michael Wight, MDOT senior structural engineer, said.

“So, about the third week in August so we don’t interrupt school buses,” he said.

The culvert is 10 feet, 3 inches wide and 6 feet, 5 inches tall, Hjelm said.

It is a corrugated pipe, steel-plate pipe arch culvert that is rusting out and plates are falling off, Wight said.

Hjelm said the plan is to replace it with a precast concrete box culvert 6 feet tall and 22 feet wide.

“We’ve been putting a ton of those things in lately,” Bodge said. “We know they last a long time and they’re so easy to construct.”

Bodge said they are increasing the culvert width to meet state fisheries issues concerning brook trout.

“Probably the habitat is good for brook trout,” Bodge said. “It’s not necessarily the fact that there’s a ton of fish in the area, but sometimes if there’s good habitat for fish they ask us to increase (width).”

Hjelm said the new culvert had to be 6 feet tall by 22 feet wide for the brook’s flow and to meet MDOT standards.

“The amount of water flowing through and where we couldn’t make it very tall where the road is relatively low, we had to make it quite wide to accommodate the same amount of water,” Bodge said. “So I would say that it’s been undersized for a while.”

Wight said they found a 1936 study where Meadow Brook backed up from the Ellis River and flooded about a 1,000-foot stretch of road.

“So flooding in extreme events is an issue,” Bodge said.

Additionally, they’ve planned the project to accommodate the Rumford Water District’s pipe.

“It kind of wraps around the end of the existing pipe and we were asked by them if there’s anything we could do so they didn’t have to move it,” Bodge said.

It would have cost the district and its ratepayers $40,000 to move, he said. So the designer added a short wall on one end of the new pipe.

Additionally, there is no plan to reconstruct Andover Road over the new span. Bodge said the road sags toward one side and that same sag will be kept over the new culvert.

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