St. Albans to hold special town meeting to address bridge repair funds

The metal arch under the bridge on the Ripley Road in St. Albans, photographed in January 2012, which connects Indian Pond and Little Indian Pond, is in need of replacement. Residents will be asked at a special town meeting to take funds from an unappropriated surplus account to repair or replace the bridge.
The metal arch under the bridge on the Ripley Road in St. Albans, photographed in January 2012, which connects Indian Pond and Little Indian Pond, is in need of replacement. Residents will be asked at a special town meeting to take funds from an unappropriated surplus account to repair or replace the bridge. Buy Photo
Posted Aug. 23, 2012, at 7:41 p.m.

ST. ALBANS, Maine — The town of St. Albans has posted a special town meeting to be held on Monday to ask residents to approve money to repair a bridge and a dam retaining wall.

Residents will be asked to take no more than $40,000 from an unappropriated surplus account to repair or replace the bridge on the Ripley Road that divides Indian Pond from Little Indian Pond, known as Indian Bridge. It will replace Article 34 that was approved during March’s annual town meeting to borrow those funds.

“[Residents] didn’t want to borrow [money to fix the bridge], but they did approve it, [because] they knew the project had to be done,” said Town Manager Rhonda Stark on Thursday. “When the project came in so much under $60,000 [that the town originally was told it would be responsible for], that’s when I thought we should go back and reverse the borrowing, and spend it outright instead.”

At the urging of the Maine Department of Transportation, the Board of Selectmen voted in January to replace the short bridge.

“The bridge is in serious to dangerous condition,” said Stark.

In April, the town posted a weight limit on the bridge, forbidding any vehicles weighing more than 10 tons to cross.

Stark said the project will cost about $85,000, and the town will pay about $33,000 instead of the $60,000 originally quoted. The project also calls to widen the bridge.

On Wednesday, Sept. 5, the dam on Indian Pond will be opened in order to lower the water level so Snowman’s Construction of St. Albans can do the work on the bridge. Stark said the bridge likely will be closed for a week or two.

“In order for them to get at the construction and installation of the culvert, their best option is to lower the lake,” said Stark, adding that the water level will be brought down about two feet. “It’s not something we want to do, but it goes back to the safety of the people crossing the bridge.”

The contractor originally wanted to start the bridge replacement in June, but the selectmen feared the lakes may not refill enough for the peak summer season, so it was delayed until after Labor Day, said Stark.

The town also will ask residents to approve no more than $10,000 from the unappropriated surplus to repair or replace a retaining wall at the upper dam off the Corinna Road. It was damaged on June 2.

The town meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Aug. 27, in the St. Albans Town Hall. The Board of Selectmen meeting will begin after the town meeting is done.

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