Maine Department of Transportation officials will be in Woolwich at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 11 to discuss replacing the Station 46 bridge and Route 1 improvements near George Wright Road. The meeting will be held in the hearing room of the municipal building on Nequasset Road.
MDOT will present an overview and answer questions on the bridge project which recently received $25 million in federal funding. The bridge, just north of the Taste of Maine Restaurant, crosses over the railroad overlooking Pleasant Cove. Plans for the new bridge are in the design phase; construction will take over a year.
State officials will also discuss an ongoing feasibility study for tidal restoration of Back River Marsh near the junction of George Wright Road and Route 1. This is part of the Kennebec River Estuary Restoration Project.
The planned bridge replacement has Woolwich officials concerned about traffic being diverted to secondary roads to reach Route 127, the main route which bypasses the Station 46 bridge.
“My biggest concern is the state diverting Route 1 traffic onto Nequasset Road and the wear and tear it will cause,” Woolwich Road Commissioner Jack Shaw told the select board Dec. 4. Shaw said Nequasset Road wasn’t built for heavy volumes of traffic. The road also passes Woolwich Central School, he added.
The board has expressed similar concerns and hopes for a large turnout of residents Dec. 11.
MDOT Project Engineer Devan Eaton told selectmen in September the state decided to replace the bridge after a recent safety inspection rated it “structurally deficient.” Corrosion of the bridge’s steel girders was fairly extensive; state officials determined it would cost less to replace the 1933 bridge than repair it.
An average of 19,000 vehicles cross it daily.