A deteriorating Old Town bridge that closed temporarily Monday morning has reopened.
The bridge closed after strong winds shifted a utility pole, which was leaning over the bridge and could have collapsed. Versant Power addressed the issue, and the bridge is now open for use, Sgt. Josh Loring said just after 1:30 p.m. Monday.
The Llewellyn G. Estes Memorial Bridge, which consists of two structures that carry Stillwater Avenue across the Stillwater River, is more than 70 years old.
The bridge, which is considered structurally deficient, had been slated for replacement as part of a multi-year, $20 million project, but the Maine Department of Transportation rejected all bids for the work last year and delayed the replacement at least until 2024. A severe spring storm and high winds created another concern with an unstable pole that closed the bridge.
“The telephone pole sits in the middle of that bridge, and the wind has blown that pole over,” said Scott Wilcox, the city’s public safety director, on Monday morning. “It is now leaning over the bridge and into traffic and being held up by the guardrail.”
Shutting down access to the bridge temporarily ensures that drivers passing through the area will remain safe, Wilcox said in the morning.
Versant Power crews reset the leaning pole, spokesperson Marissa Minor said Tuesday morning. The company plans to replace it during the bridge reconstruction project.