The Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) has now received final clearance from the Federal Highway Administration to replace the bridge.
MaineDOT will advertise the bridge replacement project for construction bids on 1 February and plans to award the construction contract soon after the four-week bidding process. On-site work is expected to begin in the late spring.
The current Frank J Wood Bridge was constructed in 1931 and rated in poor condition. Recent inspections have showed severe section loss and aggressive deterioration. In November 2021, MaineDOT had to prohibit all commercial vehicles from using the current bridge.
In 2017, a preliminary estimated construction cost of a new bridge US$13 million. MaineDOT said that legal and process delays and a concurrent market increase in construction costs mean that the new bridge is now expected to cost multiple times this preliminary estimate. The cost increase would also apply to the other alternatives considered, including rehabilitation, it said.
“It’s been a long process, but we look forward to delivering the new bridge to better connect these two communities and the travellers of Maine,” said MaineDOT commissioner Bruce Van Note. “It will be safe, reliable, and serve all users well, including motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists.”