The Maine Department of Transportation is recommending a full replacement of the two-lane bridge that has carried traffic over the Androscoggin River between Brunswick and Topsham for more than eight decades.

Before the state invests the $13 million it is estimated to cost to replace the Frank J. Wood Bridge, its engineers want to hear from the public. A meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m. Wednesday in the health and science center of Southern Maine Community College’s Brunswick campus, at 29 Sewall St.

Joel Kittredge, the project manager, said in a public notice that the state wants to present its recommendations for replacing the bridge before taking questions and listening to concerns from the public. The earliest construction start date would be 2018.

Just over a year ago, the transportation department sought feedback on whether the state should rehabilitate or replace the bridge, which was built in 1931 and serves as the gateway to the downtown business districts of Brunswick and Topsham, carrying an estimated 19,000 vehicles a day on Route 201.

After conducting “an exhaustive bridge improvement study of the engineering aspects of the project, the state is recommending that the structure be replaced,” Department of Transportation spokesman Ted Talbot said in an email.

Talbot said preliminary plans call for the new bridge to be built upstream from the old one, to “allow traffic to be maintained on the existing structure until the new bridge is in service, at which time the old bridge would be removed.”

“With no bridge closure (planned) … and with minimal traffic impact, the effect on local business will be limited,” Talbot said.

The bridge, which is painted a metallic green and shows extensive rust on its three trussed superstructures, is bordered on the west by Fort Andross and a hydroelectric dam. The construction of the Route 196 bypass, also known as the Coastal Connector, in the late 1990s has helped ease some of the traffic congestion on the bridge.

The bypass, which is downstream from the Frank J. Wood Bridge, carries traffic from Route 1 and Route 196 over the Androscoggin River.

Talbot said the aging bridge’s joints were repaired in 2015 to extend its life. It had repairs in 1985, 2006 and 2015. Talbot said the bridge’s superstructure and deck “are in fair condition” and are being monitored regularly.

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