PERU — The Maine Department of Transportation held revealed their final design plan for the replacement of the Androscoggin River Bridge during a Monday evening public hearing at the Peru Town Office.

The plan to replace the 85-year-old bridge began in 2014 after MDOT declared the bridge was structurally deficient and at the end of its useful life.

Public meetings were held in Mexico and Peru in 2014 to discuss the preliminary designs for the project. The project gained momentum after Gov. Paul LePage announced his $470 million transportation improvement plan in January 2015, which included $11.1 million to replace the Androscoggin River Bridge.

Project Manager Leanne Timberlake and Senior Bridge Engineer Tim Kendrick led the discussion on the bridge’s final design, explaining that the new bridge would be moved about 100 feet downstream.

“The old bridge had a 22-foot width, which is less than desirable,” Kendrick said. “It had no formal sidewalk in the approach to the bridge, and some of the metal above and below the bridge is starting to deteriorate.”

Kendrick explained that the new bridge would be 600 feet long, and the road would be 32 feet wide, with 11-foot lanes, 5-foot shoulders and a 5-foot sidewalk.

“The 5-foot shoulders will help accommodate bicyclists and will give them additional safety,” Kendrick said.

Kendrick predicted that the final design would be completed in fall 2016 and that construction would likely begin in spring 2017.

Anthony Rowe, who owns Rowe’s Afternoon Delite Ice Cream Shop on River Road with his wife, Donna, said that he hopes MDOT treats local businesses better than it did during past projects.

“When work was being done on the Dixfield bridge, it just about killed my business,” Rowe said. “Traffic was always backed up near the intersection of the bridge and River Road, and nobody could get into my parking lot. There was no consideration from the flaggers about letting people into our business. I just hope there will be a lot less intrusion this time.”

Kendrick said that there “probably won’t be as much disruption on the Mexico side of the bridge as there was during previous projects.”

Donna Rowe asked Kendrick when he predicted the bridge would be completed.

“It’s a two-season project, so if all goes according to plan, the bridge will be completed by the late 2018,” Kendrick said.

Dixfield resident Jon Holmes asked if MDOT gave any thought to snowmobilers when designing the new bridge.

“Right now, snowmobilers use the bridge to cross from Mexico to Peru,” Holmes said. “Is there going to be a way for us to cross during the winter?”

Timberlake said that the five-foot shoulders on either side of the bridge should allow “a lot of room for snowmobilers to go across.

“Is that legal?” Holmes asked.

Timberlake paused for a moment and replied, “Yes.”

“Are you sure, because you hesitated a little bit there,” Holmes said with a smile.

Timberlake smiled back and said, “As far as I know, there’s no problem with that.”

At the end of the meeting, Timberlake and Kendrick said they would take the residents’ comments into consideration while designing the final draft of the plans.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: