Maine Department of Transportation workers set up concrete barriers Friday to block off access to a collapsed culvert on Alexander Reed Road where it goes over the Abagadasset River in Richmond. Officials estimate repairs to cost $1.2 million. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal file

RICHMOND — The area where a culvert collapsed Friday on Alexander Reed Road in Richmond is expected to be closed until September and cost $1.2 million to fix, the Maine Department of Transportation said Tuesday.

The culvert, located where Alexander Reed Road crosses over the Abagadasset River, collapsed early Friday morning after the area received a large amount of rainfall.

The road was blocked off immediately by the Richmond Police Department and was initially estimated by the police department to be closed for four to six weeks, but officials at the transportation department said it will be closed until at least September.

“We knew that culvert was in worsening condition and we thought we would have more time with it, but Mother Nature had other plans,” Paul Merrill, a transportation department spokesman, said in a news release. “It was in the works to be done in 2023, but that changed on Friday. We are expediting the process, but it’s still going to be a couple of months.”

Around 400 vehicles use the road per day, but it’s considered by the transportation department as a “low-use road.”

The bidding process will start in late April or early May and is estimated to cost $1.2 million of state money, according to the agency. But ongoing supply chain issues could potentially delay the materials and increase the cost of the project, Merrill said.

“It’s going to be a while before they can drive the road,” he said.

The transportation department plans to rebuild the area with another, larger culvert — they plan to replace the “twin steel pipes” with one 24-foot wide concrete box culvert. Before, each twin pipe was 12 inches, and one failed. Merrill said the upgrade will increase the river flow and will be better overall for the environment.

Since Friday’s road closure, detours have been posted and people are directed to use Route 197 and Route 201, depending on what direction the vehicle is traveling from. When people arrive close to the site, they will be directed by signage to take other roads.

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