WATERVILLE — The historic Two-Cent Bridge will be open for pedestrians today, just in time for the 20th annual Taste of Greater Waterville.

City Engineer Greg Brown said Tuesday that the contractor working on bridge repairs had completed wind cable work. A “Bridge Closed” sign and blockade at the bridge’s entrances, visible on Tuesday, is supposed to be removed by today.

As a result, motorists who park at the former Kimberly-Clark Corp. paper mill parking lot in Winslow to attend the Taste will have the option of walking across the pedestrian bridge to Head of Falls in Waterville.

The Taste, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. today, is expected to bring thousands of people downtown for live music, food, dancing, children’s activities and the big event — a concert by Eddie Money.

With so many people expected to descend on the downtown area, having the Two-Cent Bridge open is “huge for us,” said Christian Savage, program assistant for the Mid-Maine Chamber of Commerce, which hosts the Taste.

Savage said Tuesday that a shuttle bus to and from the parking lot still will be available for people who do not want to walk across the bridge.

“The fact that the bridge is open is just a bonus for us, that’s for sure,” he said.

Brown said he is delighted with the work that Stetson & Watson, the Holden contractor doing the Two Cent Bridge work, has done to replace the wind cables. Those cables keep the bridge from rocking.

A subcontractor, New England Crane Inc. of Lewiston, also worked on the cables Tuesday. Brown said all the structural repairs to the bridge are complete.

“It’s better than it ever was,” he said. “I’m just incredibly pleased with how it turned out.”

From 4 p.m. to midnight, shuttle buses will provide frequent round-trip service between Head of Falls off Front Street and the Winslow mill parking lot, as well as Faith Evangelical Free Church at 250 Kennedy Memorial Drive and Elm Plaza off Upper Main Street.

Most of The Concourse downtown will be closed to traffic, as 1,000 seats selling for $25 each will be set up for Eddie Money, whose stage will be set up in front of the Family Dollar store, according to Savage.

The chamber has sold more than half of those seats, but tickets are still available today at the chamber office at 50 Elm St., as well as at the gate, he said. The gate is the Ticonic sculpture on The Concourse, he said.

Standing room-only tickets, which cost $5 each, will be available only at the gate.

The Taste will be set up similar to last year’s event, with the “Bite” open 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Appleton Street. Lobster rolls, pizza, Italian sausage, fresh lemonade, fried dough and french fries are among the offerings there, according to Savage.

From 5 p.m. to 9 p.m., 22 food vendors will be set up on Main Street, offering everything from Chinese, Italian and Lebanese cuisine, to Southern barbecue treats, seafood and turkey burgers.

Also, the Sustain Mid-Maine Coalition has organized a large recycling effort.

“We’re going to compost all of the food and paper products,” Savage said. “Central Maine Disposal has donated Dumpsters.”

At 2 p.m., the Budweiser Clydesdale horses will be escorted out of their trailers near Silver Street Extension, off The Concourse, and hitched up for a small parade down Spring Street, Savage said.

They will cross to Front Street and head north to Temple Street, cross Main Street and stop under the trees by the KeyBank automated teller machine.

“They’ll be under the trees for about an hour or so, for show,” Savage said.

Several dozen law enforcement officers have been hired for the Taste.

“We feel comfortable, as far as public safety,” Savage said. “We have all of our t’s crossed and i’s dotted, and I think we’re ready. We have 40 to 50 volunteers on hand, not including those who are part of the recycling effort. We’re as ready as we can be.”

Amy Calder — 861-9247

[email protected]

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