Residents of a small island village in Stonington hope the state’s plan for his or her bridge isn’t set in stone.
Nicely, truly, they do need it set in stone — actually.
Practically 180 folks have signed a petition calling on the Maine Division of Transportation to rethink its plan to exchange the Oceanville bridge. They need the division to think about preserving the present granite stone abutments which have held up the 39-foot span and related Oceanville with the remainder of Stonington for greater than 80 years.
Oceanville resident Invoice Turner began the petition. He and plenty of petitioners acknowledge that the bridge must be changed, he mentioned. However they questioned DOT’s present plan to construct an extended bridge and do away with the stone abutments, which function a nod to Stonington and Deer Isle’s proud historical past of granite quarrying.
“It’s kind of an iconic little bridge,” Turner mentioned. “[The abutments] are consultant of the granite trade that used to thrive right here in Stonington.”
DOT is scheduled to exchange the bridge — the one approach on and off the island of Oceanville — with a brand new concrete one in 2023 and 2024, to the tune of $3.6 million. A bridge has been there in some type because the 1800s. The present bridge was inbuilt 1940 and up to date in 1968.
However the abutments residents need to save are in poor situation, in accordance with DOT, and there are quite a few different deficiencies. The bridge can solely bear one giant truck at a time, it has rusting beams, and its banks are eroding.
The abutments have unfastened, shifting and lacking granite blocks, in addition to a noticeable bulge in one of many abutments that could possibly be indicative of motion across the basis.
DOT thought of changing simply the higher portion of the bridge and leaving the abutments, however that concept was scrapped as a consequence of excessive development prices and a shorter life span than a whole substitute.
The situation of the abutments is driving the necessity for substitute as a lot because the metal superstructure, in accordance with DOT.
The present plan is to place in a brand new 75-foot bridge with concrete abutments and protecting riprap.
Turner and different residents went earlier than the Stonington Choose Board Monday to ask for his or her backing within the try and protect the stone. He’s hopeful that DOT will take heed to their issues.
“We really feel like we’re dropping our heritage, and one-by-one issues are eliminated, they usually don’t come again,” he mentioned.
Stonington was integrated in 1897 and, on the time, had a dozen granite quarry operations. Granite from Deer Isle-Stonington has been utilized in a number of Northeast landmarks, together with Grand Central Terminal, the Rockefeller Heart skating rink and the Museum of High-quality Arts in Boston.
The division has obtained the petition signed by 178 folks however hasn’t made any willpower on the abutments.
DOT beforehand mentioned that they deliberate to work on closing design by the remainder of the yr and into 2023 and development would start in fall 2023. A spokesperson mentioned this week that the division is planning to speak to city officers in regards to the problem later this summer season.