‘A couple of chunks had fallen off’: Safety check reveals need to repair bridge between Brunswick and Topsham

The Maine Department of Transportation is planning repairs on the Frank J. Wood Bridge to address deteriorating concrete supporting the structure that links Brunswick and Topsham.
Peter L. McGuire | The Forecaster
The Maine Department of Transportation is planning repairs on the Frank J. Wood Bridge to address deteriorating concrete supporting the structure that links Brunswick and Topsham.
Posted June 18, 2014, at 12:28 p.m.

BRUNSWICK, Maine — The Maine Department of Transportation plans to repair the Frank J. Wood Bridge, which spans the Androscoggin River between Brunswick and Topsham, after inspectors this week found deteriorating concrete on one of the bridge’s support pillars.

According to Maine DOT spokesman Ted Talbot, inspectors found crumbling concrete underneath the bridge’s northern downstream pier during a regular inspection.

“A couple of chunks had fallen off,” Talbot said.

He emphasized that the bridge is still structurally sound and there are no concerns about safety or security of the structure, which is the primary thoroughfare between Brunswick and Topsham.

“If we thought so, we’d close the bridge, we’ve done that in the past,” Talbot said. “This doesn’t have anything to do with immediate safety at all.”

The department intends to put in temporary supports to reinforce the pier while engineers develop a more permanent fix, Talbot said. It is too early to estimate how much the project might cost.

The repair work is slated to take place this summer, but is not expected to affect vehicle traffic on the bridge, which connects Main Street (U.S. Route 201) in Topsham with Maine Street in Brunswick.

The truss bridge was built in 1932.

“What we do now with all new bridges, of course, is have that reinforced concrete,” Talbot said, “but there was none there when they first designed and built that bridge.”

“There are little things with aging bridges and this is just another one,” he said.

There are no plans to replace the bridge before 2016, Talbot said.

 

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