CAMDEN, Maien — Two bridges that are owned by the town could be closed by the state if nearly $50,000 in repairs are not made soon.
The state Department of Transportation inspected the two bridges on Molyneaux Road in 2008 and last April sent the town a notice indicating the bridges were deemed to be in poor condition and the town needed to repair them.
Camden Public Works Director Richard Seibel said he received the notice from the state on April 30, 2009, and expects the DOT to re-evaluate the bridges in late spring. The bridges are less than 20 feet long and nearby each other on the road.
Seibel said it would be impossible to repair the bridges before the DOT’s expected inspection date. He said the town’s next budget won’t be finished until after a town meeting in June and funding won’t be available until July if it gets passed.
If the town does approve money to repair the bridges, it will take time to put out a request for proposals and get bids back.
“The bridge should be replaced in order to preserve public safety,” the DOT letter stated. “If the bridge reaches a condition that is unsafe for traffic, the department will exercise their right to protect public safety and close the bridge.”
The state cited “heavy spalling of concrete bridge rails” and “wings have considerable spalling” as the main deficiencies. Spalling is the erosion of concrete, which turns smooth, solid structures into a lumpy, cottage-cheese texture.
The concrete guardrails, which fell off some time ago and were replaced with a temporary guard, garnered the lowest rating on the DOT’s 2008 reports, receiving a score of 0 out of 9 on both bridges.
Another safety issue involved the decks, or roadway areas that cars drive over. One bridge received a “poor” rating of 4, and the other a 5, or “fair.”
“We’re not going to close it anytime soon; it does have some life, but it has parts on it that are aging quickly. Something has to be done,” Ben Foster, assistant bridge maintenance engineer with the DOT, said Tuesday.
Seibel said he thought the state owned the bridges and wasn’t aware they have belonged to the town for the last nine or so years until he received the letter.
If the bridges were closed, it would be inconvenient, but not impossible, for the locals to navigate around.
Orman Goodwin’s contracting business is located near the bridge. He said he noticed the bridges have been in trouble for a long time. Part of his business is to make trips to the properties he keeps. If the bridge were closed it would take him an extra 15 to 20 minutes each way.
“But I might have to take many trips, so it definitely would take some time for me,” he said.
Closing the two Molyneaux bridges aren’t on DOT’s agenda for now, according to Foster.
“If it gets to a point where we would think about closing it, we would give them a call; besides that, there are no other consequences if they don’t get it