THE FRANK J. WOOD BRIDGE connects Topsham and Brunswick.

THE FRANK J. WOOD BRIDGE connects Topsham and Brunswick.

TOPSHAM

To replace or repair? That is the question concerning the future of the Frank J. Wood Bridge.

Local residents have one more chance to sound off on the choices Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Commons at Mt. Ararat High School.

Brunswick Downtown Association Executive Director Debora King encouraged input from local business leaders in advance of the meeting.

“Please note that the participation of the business community at this meeting is crucially important, especially since local business leaders have not been prominent participants in past meetings,” said King in a press release. “Please make every effort to attend and speak.”

According to a Maine Department of Transportation review of cost and closure impacts on the bridge, it would cost an estimated $17 million to rehabilitate the bridge, which would preserve it for approximately 75 years. A new bridge is anticipated to cost $13 million, and would have an estimated 100-year lifespan.

Last summer, the MDOT and the Federal Highway Administration announced replacing the bridge as their “preferred alternative” to address the bridge’s structural issues.

A community group, The Friends of The Frank J. Wood Bridge, continues to advocate for the bridge’s rehabilitation, looking to raise $ 15,000 to fund an independent engineering report to analyze rehabilitation options and costs.

The Friends group — which opposed the findings in the state’s environmental assessment, or EA — is also trying to muster its supporters in advance of Wednesday’s meeting.

“As you have shown support for saving the bridge in the past, we want to stress the importance of getting as many voices to attend what is likely to be the only Public Meeting to address the draft EA,” Friends President John Graham wrote to supporters.

Rehabilitation of the bridge would include a deck replacement and two substructure rehabilitations, and the MDOT estimates 44 months of traffic disruption during its lifespan once the work is completed. The report does not anticipate significant traffic disruption if a new bridge is constructed.

Costs for each plan and projected traffic impact will be presented at the meeting.

Also known as the “green bridge,” the structure spans the Androscoggin River and connects downtown Brunswick with Topsham along Route 201.

Bridge costs

MDOT REPAIR ESTIMATE: $17 million, 75-year lifespan

MDOT REPLACE ESTIMATE: $13 million, 100-year lifespan


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