Updated 2:45 p.m.

 The bridge on Maine Avenue in Gardiner near Harvey’s hardware store is now closed and the bridge near Dennis’ Pizza will be closed shortly, according to the Maine Department of Transportation.

 The bridges are being closed because the fast-moving water below is “scouring the underneath of the bridges,” a DOT official said today. They will be closed until at least mid-afternoon Tuesday, after two more high tide cycles pass.

 Motorists are encouraged to plan ahead and seek alternate routes.

Updated at 1:20 p.m.

Flooding has caused officials in Gardiner to close two parking areas to the public: the Arcade and Waterfront parking lots.

Gardiner Police Chief James Toman said that since those lots have been closed, people are allowed to park without time limits on any city street.

In addition, Toman said it is likely the state Department of Transportation will soon shut down two bridges in Gardiner — on Bridge Street and on Maine Avenue, near Harvey’s.

State transportation officials also have announced closures: Thorofare Road, from Richmond to Litchfield, between Route 201 and Plains Road; Route 197 in Richmond, off Route 201; and the bridge on Plains and Pond roads that goes over Cobbossee Stream.

 

————-

The rain-swollen Kennebec River is just beginning to touch the buildings in downtown Augusta, and two roads in Litchfield have been closed due to flooding, local officials said today.

Thorofare Road and the tail end of Route 197 are closed, according to town officials. In Augusta, the river is two feet above flood stage and climbing, said Sean Goodwin, deputy director of the Kennebec County Emergency Management Agency.

“It’s beginning to lick the back of the buildings in Augusta and it’s creeping up toward the buildings in Hallowell,” he said.

In Gardiner, Cobbossee Stream is very full and beginning to shed water into low lying parts of the Hannaford parking lot, he said.

The river is expected to top out at 15 or 16 feet later today, with flood warnings continuing to be in effect until late Tuesday. Goodwin said the river isn’t expected to be back inside its banks until mid-morning Wednesday, although he cautioned that predictions are likely to change.

“Obviously, the ground is not soaking anything up at this stage,” he said.

The National Weather Service in Gray is predicting rain through Thursday, although the amounts will taper off after today.