Blue Hill’s Falls Bridge Due for Facelift



BLUE HILL — One of Blue Hill’s most cherished landmarks — the Falls Bridge — is due for a facelift.

 

Engineering studies over the next several months will determine the extent of a project to repair the bridge.

At a hearing in Blue Hill Tuesday, Stephen Bodge, project manager with the Maine Department of Transportation (DOT), said four options are being considered: minor rehabilitation, major rehabilitation, replacement with an in-kind structure and replacement with a modern structure.

The Falls Bridge in Blue Hill spans the reversing falls at the juncture of Blue Hill Bay and Salt Pond along State Route 175. — JAMES STRAUB
The Falls Bridge in Blue Hill spans the reversing falls at the juncture of Blue Hill Bay and Salt Pond along State Route 175. — JAMES STRAUB

Built in 1926, the Stevens Bridge, known locally as the Falls Bridge, is being considered for placement on the National Register of Historic Places, which makes replacing the bridge with a modern structure the least likely option at this time.

The bridge is one of only two concrete arch bridges remaining in the state.

Engineers from Kleinfelder SEA, the firm hired by the DOT to design the project, said they have consulted the Maine Historic Preservation Commission about the project.

Robert Blunt, a senior project engineer with SEA, said the project was initiated after a bridge survey was conducted this past April.

He said the 20-foot-4-inch-wide bridge is below current standards, as are the bridge’s load ratings. Its arches are in fair condition and its substructure is in poor condition.

On average over a year, 2,000 vehicles a day cross the bridge. The number is considerably higher in summer.

For more political news, pick up a copy of The Ellsworth American.

 

Fenceviewer Staff

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