The Marsh Bridge, known locally as the "Adams Bridge." is one of two in Tremont that needs to be repaired or replaced. IMAGE COURTESY OF GOOGLE

Bridge work plans discussed

TREMONT — The Maine Department of Transportation is betting that sending two bridge projects out to bid simultaneously will reduce the cost of both.

The Clark Bridge on the Tremont Road and the Marsh Bridge, known locally as the “Adams Bridge,” which spans the town lines between Tremont and Southwest Harbor, are scheduled for major work. The Clark Bridge, near the Tremont Consolidated School, is slated for replacement. Whether the Marsh Bridge is to be replaced or repaired is still undecided, according to project engineers.

About a dozen people heard about the projects from MDOT project manager Leanne Timberlake and engineers with VHB of South Portland at a public hearing Tuesday at the Tremont Town Office.

Replacement of the Clark Bridge was scheduled to begin this month but was put on hold last year after bids came in much higher than expected. That sent engineers back to the drawing board for a lower-cost solution.

According to Tim Bryant of VHB, the requirement that one-way traffic be maintained on the bridge during construction drove up the cost. Along with developing a new plan for replacing the Clark Bridge, engineers thought it best to send the project out to bid with the Marsh Bridge project to take advantage of the “economy of scale,” Bryant said.

The new plan for replacing the 93-year-old Clark Bridge includes construction of a precast concrete structure with a shorter span than the previous design. A one-lane temporary road and bridge would be built alongside to keep traffic flowing. The temporary route would be on Acadia National Park property.

“Our initial discussions with the park shows getting the rights won’t be that difficult,” Bryant said.

Park spokesperson John Kelly said Wednesday afternoon that park officials met with Bryant, but no decision has been made.

Both bridge projects are expected to go out to bid next spring. Construction of the Clark Bridge would begin that summer with completion in the fall of 2018. Some final paving might have to be done in the spring of 2019, Bryant said.

The Marsh Bridge was built in 1931. Engineers are still evaluating the existing abutments to see if they can be used to support a new bridge deck, said Bob Blunt of VHB. Construction cost and time would vary depending on final design.

Construction of the Marsh Bridge would begin in the fall of 2018 after completion of the Clark Bridge project and be completed the following spring.

Engineers are considering whether to close the bridge during construction, erect a temporary bridge or maintain one-way traffic. A temporary bridge also would require national park approval.

If the existing abutments can be used and the bridge closed, construction would take two weeks or less, Blunt said. Staged construction with one-way traffic being maintained would take about two months. Complete replacement of the bridge would require between 45 and 60 days of work, he added.

Mark Good

Mark Good

Reporter at Mount Desert Islander
Mark Good

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