July 5, 2013

Archaeological dig to continue through Richmond-Dresden bridge construction

Archaeologists and volunteers welcome extra time to complete work at the Fort Richmond site.

By KEITH EDWARDS Kennebec Journal

(Continued from page 1)

click image to enlarge

The new Richmond-Dresden bridge, which will replace a swing bridge, will be high enough at 75 feet for even large vessels.

Kennebec Journal photo

Benoit said the project also should have little effect on boaters in the Kennebec River below. The channel will need to be closed when the old bridge is removed and when steel is set for the new bridge.

Coffer dams will be installed in the river for part of the project. Some pile driving -- which can create noise -- will occur for some of the substructure of the bridge, but Benoit said that work would not take place at night.

The project was initially projected to cost as much as $25 million, but bids came in lower than expected, according to Ted Talbot, spokesman for the DOT.

The winning bidder for the job, Woolwich-based Reed & Reed, bid $14.3 million. With engineering costs included, the overall cost, Benoit said, should be about $18.6 million.

The project is funded partially by a $10.8 million federal grant.

Smith said the home of Paul and Jill Adams, where the Fort Richmond dig has taken, will be removed to make way for the bridge, as will a cape on the Dresden side of the river.

He said the Adams home will be used as a field office before it is removed.

Last week a crew of 26 high school students assisted at the Fort Richmond dig, through a Maine Humanities Council program. Other paid archaeologists have been assisting at the site this summer, but Smith said there's only enough funding for him and one other state archaeologist, Bill Burgess, to continue working there. However, they hope to continue to be assisted by volunteers who can show their interest by contacting Burgess at 737-2509 or by email at william.burgess@maine.gov.

Smith said the dig has proven to be extraordinarily productive, revealing structural details of the two forts and about 250,000 artifacts, including European ceramics, American Indian items, tools, and a winged cherub religious icon.

"We're continuing to find more artifacts," Smith said, "which will help us understand the life ... of the people in the fort."

Keith Edwards can be contacted at 621-5647 or at:



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