The Brunswick Town Council reiterated its support for the Maine Department of Transportation’s plan to replace the aging Frank J. Wood Bridge on Monday evening, a little over a week after supporters of the historic structure renewed their four-year legal fight to stop the project.

“The Town Council of the Town of Brunswick urges the plaintiffs to respect the public and legal processes that have occurred to date and forego any further legal action that would continue to delay the construction of a new bridge, necessary for the public’s safety, welfare and convenience,” read the council’s resolution, which the body adopted in a 7-1 vote.

MDOT’s cost estimates for the project have more than tripled to $42 million since 2017, which the department blames partly on delays related to a 2019 lawsuit by Friends of the Frank J. Wood Bridge, the National Trust for Historic Preservation and the Historic Bridge Foundation. While that case moved through the court system, the 805-foot steel truss bridge continued to degrade. In November 2021, MDOT determined the structure unsafe for heavy buses and commercial vehicles.

Supporters of the bridge argue the government’s cost estimates are incorrect and repairing the structure would not be materially more expensive than replacing it. Steve Walker, the lone councilor to vote against the resolution, expressed his own skepticism about MDOT’s calculations and said it was not the council’s role to tell private groups how to exercise their legal rights.

But others spoke forcefully Monday about the need to move forward with the project as quickly as possible.

“The cost of stuff is going up every single day,” said Councilor Kathy Wilson, who said she no longer feels safe driving on the bridge. “[Everyone] in the whole state is going to pay for this delay.”


Much of the discussion revolved around local businesses that could suffer if the current bridge fails before a replacement is built or if repairs temporarily shut down traffic in the area.

Brunswick business owners have landed on both sides of the bridge debate, according to Brunswick Downtown Association Executive Director Debora King. Yet after years of delays, most are eager to put the issue to rest.

“That has become the general feeling,” King said. “Let’s just get something done.”

The Topsham Select Board, which has previously supported building a new bridge, will consider a similar resolution at its meeting on March 16.

MDOT said through a spokesperson last week that the new lawsuit will not stop progress on the new bridge. Bids on the project are due Thursday.

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