Maine Department of Transportation will seek bids on an estimated $500,000 in repairs to Max L. Wilder Memorial Bridge on state Route 127 linking Woolwich with Arrowsic.
The bridge spans the Sasanoa River and will “remain open to one-way, alternating traffic with temporary traffic signals for the duration of construction,” wrote project manager Mackenzie A. Kersbergen in a Feb. 10 email to Wiscasset Newspaper. “At this point there is no contractor on board. The project will advertise in mid-April for contractors to bid. We should have a signed contract by June,” stated Kersbergen.
The work is set for this summer, possibly starting in June, and includes removing and replacing the bridge’s road surface. Also slated are repairs to select joints including “concrete and joint armor, concrete curb and pier patch repairs as needed, and to replace one bearing under the bridge at the pier,” she explained. Construction is expected to take two to four months and be done Nov. 21.
Also known as the Arrowsic Bridge, the 838-foot long steel-truss bridge was constructed in 1950. Kersbergen noted it underwent rehabilitation work in 1985, 2002 and 2010. “In 2002, the bridge was painted. In 1985 and 2010, the bridge received a new wearing surface including new membrane and joint repairs.”
Wilder Bridge received an overall “fair condition” rating during its last inspection carried out in 2019. MDOT’s most recent traffic count in 2016 revealed an average of 3,800 vehicles a day use the bridge.
Kersbergen said no public meeting is planned for the project. She said a letter was sent to both the Arrowsic and Woolwich select boards informing them of the project. There’s no project-specific hotline or email, she added.
According to www.historicbridges.org, Wilder Bridge is an example of “an uncommon, but highly attractive design of truss bridge often called an ‘arched truss.’” Max L. Wilder, an engineer with the Maine State Highway Commission, designed it and it was named in his honor in 1963.
The bridge is judged to have high preservation priority because it’s a rare example of its design and the only cantilevered thru truss highway bridge in Maine, according to the Historic Bridges’ website. The bridge is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, although Kersbergen said MDOT has no present plans to apply for that status.
The bridge replaced a former toll bridge upriver linking the Old Arrowsic Road in Woolwich to Preble Point, Arrowsic.