HOWLAND, Maine — Construction began Monday on a new town outdoor skating area that will cost $70,000, should be finished by mid-November and probably will leave the town with a better-designed recreation complex, Town Manager Jane Jones said.
Funded entirely by federal and state allocations, the new 90-by-150-foot area will be located behind the town’s playground and recreation area near the former Howland Tannery building instead of the LaGrange Road side of the Howland bridge, which was the site of the old skating area. That space will be part of the approach to the new $10 million town bridge, Jones said.
The new skating area “has been designed to allow one end of it to have room for the smaller, less-experienced skater and the other end for the more experienced skater,” Jones said. “It should leave us enough area for both kinds of skaters and still allow for a good recreational opportunity.”
The new skating area will have lights and help turn the playground and ball fields there into a better space for community recreation, Jones said. Workers from Cianbro Corp. and King Brothers will build the rink and install the lights over it, Jones said.
Construction of the new bridge is due to start in the spring. When it is finished in 2012, the three-span deck-and-girder bridge won’t need to be entirely replaced until at least 2112, officials have said. The spring work will feature the building of temporary structures, abutments and bulkheads, which will allow Cianbro and its subcontractors to get on the river. The company will build a modular barge and put a crane on it.
The crane will help the Cianbro crews install cofferdams, metal boxes driven into the river bottom, that the crews will use to dig out soil to get to the bridge bedrock, or ledge, before being pumped free of water. Two piers on which the bridge will be built, one of three abutments, much of the second abutment and the steel-plate girder superstructure will be built in 2011.
The second abutment, concrete deck and two bridge approaches — or connections to existing roads — will be built in 2012. The new bridge will be twice as wide as the old, and will have 9-foot-wide sidewalks on raised shoulders that snowmobilers and snow groomers can use.