Automobiles cross the Rumford-Mexico Bridge in April. The bridge, which brings Route 2 over the Swift River, is being replaced beginning in October, according to Mexico Town Manager Raquel Welch-Day. A temporary bridge is to be erected to the right during the two-year project. Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times file

RUMFORD — A two-year project to replace the Route 2 bridge between Rumford and Mexico will begin in October at an estimated cost of $8.85 million, according to officials.

The job will begin with removing trees along the banking of the Swift River to make room for a temporary bridge, Mexico Town Manager Rachel Welch-Day told Rumford selectmen at their Sept. 5 meeting.

The span, also known at the Red Bridge, will be removed next May.

It was built in 1954 and is 165 feet long and 28 feet wide curb to curb. The new bridge will be 155 feet long and 36 feet wide curb to curb.

In April, the board authorized Town Manager Stacy Carter to sign an agreement with the Maine Department of Transportation to use town land known as Three Fields for a temporary bridge.

Carter said the department will reimburse the town $1,000 for using the land. Once the bridge is completed, the department pay for the cement steps going down to the field, put in a wheelchair accessible ramp and redo the dugouts.

In June 2020, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins, vice chairman of the Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee, announced MDOT was awarded $38.1 million to replace and/or restore seven bridges, including the Rumford-Mexico bridge.

“These funds are necessary to replace seven of Maine’s nearly 3,000 bridges,” Commissioner Bruce Van Note said at that time. “Replacing these bridges will help to improve the economic viability of some Maine’s more rural areas, ensuring reliable movement of goods across our state.”

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