Maine transportation officers say a bridge in Previous City is in poor situation however nonetheless protected for many to drive over. However federal and state information present that elements of the bridge are quickly deteriorating and have been for years.
Plans have been within the works for years to switch the Llewellyn G. Estes Memorial Bridge, which consists of two buildings that carry Stillwater Avenue throughout the Stillwater River. The bridge is greater than 70 years outdated.
The state transportation division was supposed to switch the bridge as a part of a multi-year, $20 million mission slated to start out this yr. However the division rejected all bids for the work in April after potential contractors’ quotes got here in at round double the state’s finances for the work.
Of the 2 spans, the northernmost one now has a brand new weight restriction, forcing automobiles that weigh greater than 30,000 kilos to take a detour across the bridge beginning Monday. And plans to switch the bridge have now been delayed till at the very least 2024, regardless of the bridge being listed as “structurally poor,” the federal authorities’s lowest bridge situation score.
Structurally poor is a classification given to a bridge when both its deck, superstructure that helps the deck, substructure, or culvert are in poor situation or worse, in line with the U.S. Division of Transportation.
The deck of a bridge is the floor that automobiles drive over, which is supported by the superstructure beneath. The substructure holds the bridge above the water.
The Maine Division of Transportation tracks and research its bridges yearly and considers the Llewellyn G. Estes Memorial Bridge as two separate buildings. A Could 17 division inspection of the bridge revealed that water was leaking by the northern span’s deck and located that it had misplaced a big part of concrete, division spokesperson Paul Merrill stated.
The inspection additionally revealed that the deck score of the bridge had gone from “poor” to “severe” situation. The bridge’s superstructure and substructure are additionally in poor situation, he stated.
The division has recognized for years that the bridges had been in tough situation. In 2020, a bridge evaluation discovered that each bridges had elements that had been in “superior deterioration” and “severely deteriorated.” In response to the grading scale used to evaluate the bridges, they’ve been within the “structurally poor” class since at the very least 2020.
Whereas the time period doesn’t imply a bridge is about to crumble, it is a sign that the bridge wants shut monitoring and repairs, if not substitute.
Throughout Maine, about 12.6 % of the bridges are thought of structurally poor, in line with the American Street and Transportation Builders Affiliation.
When the motion on the bridge shall be taken and what it would appear to be remains to be unclear because the Maine Division of Transportation charts a brand new plan of action as infrastructure initiatives throughout the nation have been affected by worth spikes pushed by rising materials and labor prices.
Initially, the mission to switch the bridge was bundled along with work that may have additionally made enhancements to the crash-prone Bennoch Street and Faculty Avenue intersections with Stillwater Avenue.
All the work was estimated to price $20 million, however the lowest bid that got here in was practically double at $39.2 million.
To maintain prices down, the division now plans to separate the bridge mission from the remainder of the work and can difficulty a brand new request for bids on the street work in September.