WATERFORD — The Cross Street Bridge is expected to be shut down for safety reasons this week.

The Board of Selectmen was notified in late January that closure signs must be posted by Feb. 14, but the harsh winter has kept the Highway Department from completing the work, Road Commissioner Brad Grover said.

Selectmen voted unanimously 3-0 on Jan. 27 to follow the state’s recommendation and close the bridge, which was built in 1936 and was once known as the Corn Shop Bridge.

“If it ever stops snowing,” Grover said he hopes to get the signs and barricades up sometimes this week.

The condition of the 15-foot-wide bridge and what to do about it has been discussed by town officials for years.

Maine Department of Transportation engineer Benjamin Foster said Monday he has been in contact with the town as recently as this week and has been assured the signs and barricades have been purchased and the bridge will be closed to traffic.

“It is their responsibility. They need to take ownership for that structure,” he said.

A 2007 state inspection report said the structure, which is posted at a limit of three tons, was in “serious to critical” condition. Problems include four girders with major section loss in bearing areas and flanges rusted off.

In 2007, Gagnon Engineering structural consultants of Gorham were asked by the Waterford Bridge Committee to inspect the bridge. That company reported that both bridge abutments and superstructure could be salvaged for continued use after appropriate repairs.

In November 2009, the Bridge Committee reported that the town should not go out to bid for the bridge work at that time because of the poor economic climate and limited town finances.

Grover said a few people have complained that the bridge closure would be inconvenient, but he said the state has declared the bridge a “redundant” bridge because there are two other means of access between Sweden Road and Routes 35/37.

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