Topsham’s select board on Thursday authorized Town Manager Derek Scrapchansky to sign an agreement with the Maine Department of Transportation regarding the potential replacement of the Frank J. Wood Bridge.

On April 11, Assistant Town Manager Mark Waltz met with Topsham’s Public Works Director Dennis Cox, Economic Development Director John Shattuck, Assistant Planner Kate Burch, an MDOT project engineer, and Brunswick officials to discuss any extra improvement costs required for the new bridge.

According to the agreement, neither Brunswick nor Topsham will have to pay more than the future costs committed to in the signed document. All additional costs will be covered by the state.

Topsham will pay a one-time fee of $355,000, for the small park on Topsham’s side of the new bridge. Brunswick is expected to pay $330,000 for its park, which the Brunswick Town Council will vote on at a May 12 meeting.

While the MDOT will maintain the bridge itself, Brunswick and Topsham will be responsible for snow removal, in addition to maintaining the parks on either side of the bridge.

In 2018, Doug Bennett of the Brunswick-Topsham Design Advisory Committee told The Times Record that the two parks would provide sites to honor the history of the area, including pieces of the former Frank J. Wood Bridge structure.

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Topsham Select Board members said they know the MDOT has taken into consideration the environmental aspects regarding shoreland zoning and are comfortable moving forward at this time.

MDOT is in its final stages of preparing to go out to bid for the replacement of the bridge, said Waltz.

Because the MDOT plans to build the new bridge so close to the existing structure, there will be some temporary traffic changes, he said.

During construction, traffic on the Frank J. Wood Bridge may be limited to one-way traffic for up to 89 days. MDOT plans to close the bridge completely for six nights from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m.


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