June 21, 2013

More than 350 Maine bridges deficient

The state makes progress since 2011, but it's still ninth worst in the nation in terms of percentage.

By Eric Russell erussell@pressherald.com
Staff Writer

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Martin's Point Bridge from Portland looking toward Falmouth. Photographed on Thursday, June 20, 2013.

John Patriquin / Staff Photographer

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The Route 1 bridge over the Kennebunk River on the Kennebunk and Arundel town line is one of over 350 'deficient' bridges in Maine.

Gregory Rec / Staff Photographer:

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The state's work plan for 2013, 2014 and 2015 includes 126 bridge-related projects ranging from minor repairs to full replacement. Among those scheduled for replacement are the Route 9 bridge in Scarborough, the Bridge Street bridge in Westbrook, the Route 201 bridge between Brunswick and Topsham, the Pine Street bridge between Biddeford and Saco, and the Route 4A bridge that connects Hollis and Buxton.

Maria Fuentes, executive director of the Maine Better Transportation Association, said the Department of Transportation has done a good job prioritizing bridge projects.

"But we can't expect them to predict correctly how long a bridge might last before it needs immediate repair," she said.

The biggest factor in determining whether a bridge is deficient is its age. On average, structurally deficient bridges are 22 years older than all other bridges, according to the Transportation for America study. Thousands of bridges were built across the country in the 1950s and 1960s to accommodate the federal highway system.

The Federal Highway Administration estimates that it would cost $76 billion to repair all deficient bridges nationwide. Maine does not have an estimate for what it would cost to repair all of its deficient bridges.

Eric Russell can be contacted at 791-6344 or at:


Twitter: @PPHEricRussell

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