We, the former mayors of the city of Saco, Mark Johnston, Bill Johnson and myself, Ron Michaud, have closely followed the process over many recent years associated with replacing or rehabilitating Stackpole Bridge on Simpson Road. It is Maine’s oldest bridge on a public roadway, built in 1848.

We are delighted that Saco voters approved a $990,000 bond package in November 2014 to fund the work. Bids have been submitted to either repair or replace the bridge. The Saco City Council votes Monday to select one of the bids.

Because the bridge issue engaged each of us during our terms as mayor and is now coming to closure, we would like to offer our input into the decision-making.

We believe the best option is the bid to rehabilitate Stackpole Bridge submitted by Chesterfield Associates.

As the lowest bid, well below the approved bond funds, this rehabilitation plan is innovative and smart, resulting in a strengthened structure that retains its historic character while providing a roadway that conforms to 21st-century traffic needs.

The Chesterfield plan meets the city’s requirements, ensuring the bridge will be reopened to two-way traffic, including emergency vehicles (H-20 loading).

The rehabilitated bridge will have improved water flow and a 75-plus-year service life. The city of Saco will receive statewide publicity and accolades for having preserved Maine’s oldest bridge, eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

The Friends of Stackpole Bridge are committed to working with the city to provide improved public access, safe parking and signage for the historic landmark.

Ron Michaud