York Department of Public Works employees remove the rusted decking on the landmark Wiggly Bridge. Credit: Rich Beauchesne | The York Weekly

YORK, Maine — The Wiggly Bridge, one of the most iconic sites in York rivaled only by Nubble Light, is getting an important facelift this fall — one of several projects taking place on the north side of the Route 103 bridge intended to make that area more inviting for residents and visitors alike.

The landmark bridge is described by many travel sites — including Atlas Obscura, Trip Advisor and Roadside America — as being known as the “world’s smallest suspension bridge.”

Credit: Rich Beauchesne | The York Weekly

The bridge’s deck is being replaced by Department of Public Works crews. Rusting metal support beams that crisscross the span, held in place by rusted bolts, will all be replaced. So will the wooden deck itself. Work began last week and is expected to continue through mid-November or so. During that time, the bridge will be closed.

The project is being undertaken after a 2016 engineering report deemed the bridge safe although rusty. While the cables and towers were deemed in good shape, the undercarriage in particular was identified as needing attention.

Director of Public Works Dean Lessard said the support for the bridge comes from the cables and towers, not from the deck. “Was it in danger of any type of failure? No. We could have gone a couple more years without replacing it, but why wait?”

A metal manufacturer fabricated the new steel beams at a cost of about $6,000. The beams were then galvanized to match the color of the bridge, giving them a lifespan of about 35 years, Lessard said.

Work was initially to have started last fall, but Lessard said the decision was made to coordinate it with the boardwalk project at Route 103. That boardwalk was built last summer, connecting the Fishermen’s Walk with the Wiggly Bridge causeway. It opened July 18.

However, one part of that project was not completed at the time, a paddlecraft access float. Last week, contractors CDM Constructors of Freeport returned to York to install a gangway leading to an 18-by-10 foot float. The float is seen as a positive to the Harbor Board, which is trying to get paddlecraft such as kayaks away from Strawberry Island on the other side of the bridge.

Once the Freeport company has completed its work, it will remove its paraphernalia from the parking spots across the street from the causeway, Lessard said. Once everything is gone, the parking spots will be repainted in the spring.

Lessard said the town will install a gate at the top of the causeway to prevent pedestrians from crossing Route 103 and using the boardwalk instead to get from one side to the other. The existing crosswalk there will not be repainted again by the DPW, said Lessard. After one plow season, crosswalk paint typically fades and he said over the course of a year or two the crosswalk will disappear entirely.

Finally, in the next few weeks, sidewalks will be completed on Route 103 from Barrel Lane to York Street, completing a “very busy time” in a small part of York, said Lessard.

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