Ending months of controversy, the Maine Department of Transportation announced Tuesday that the Frank J. Wood Bridge between Brunswick and Topsham will be replaced instead of repaired.
The Federal Highway Administration and state transportation officials identified replacement as “the preferred alternative” for the bridge, which carries Route 201 over the Androscoggin River, MDOT spokesman Ted Talbot said in a release.
The new bridge will be upstream and adjacent to the existing bridge.
The cost of rehabilitating the bridge would be more than double that of replacement, Talbot said.
A citizens group that supports fixing the bridge has argued it has historic value that transcends a basic cost comparison between replacement and repair.
The decision to build a new bridge follows months of analysis, public comment and review, considering the environmental, cultural, social, economic and transportation impacts, and best meets the purpose and need of the bridge given those considerations, according to the release.
Environmental analysis of the new bridge will be conducted and described in an environmental assessment in compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act. An additional public meeting will be held before the conclusion of that process.
The decision is contingent on acceptance of the environmental assessment, Talbot said.
“MaineDOT looks forward to working with both communities to provide a bridge connection that not only meets the transportation needs, but is also befitting of this setting and environment,” the release states.
For more information visit maine.gov/mdot/env/frankjwood/.