Traffic on the Lunts Hill Bridge and two other bridges that cross the Maine Turnpike will continue as usual for the foreseeable future.

The board of the Maine Turnpike Authority has voted to allow bridges on Lunts Hill, West/Farrin and Maxwell roads to remain open even though officials had eyed their closure because they’re among the least-traveled on the turnpike and need repairs.

“I am very pleased,” said Rayna Leibowitz, chairman of the Litchfield Board of Selectmen, who was one of seven people from Litchfield attending Tuesday morning’s board meeting. “When you divide a community with a road like the turnpike and then limit access, you are really impacting the whole community.”

She said closing the bridges would have inconvenienced residents and negatively affected businesses.

Turnpike Authority Executive Director Peter Mills recommended against closure after conducting a survey of neighbors around all three bridges. The board voted 6-1 Tuesday to keep the bridges open.

“These are the three lowest-volume bridges on the turnpike,” Mills said, explaining why they were targeted for possible closure.

Mills said the board had to decide whether it would invest money into repairing the bridges that were built in 1955.

On Tuesday, the two-lane Lunts Hill Road bridge was put it into the maintenance schedule for a re-decking, a project Mills estimated to cost about $2 million.

He said the bridge will be closed while those repairs are done, probably sometime in 2014-2015.

The other two bridges, which have just one lane, are not yet in the maintenance schedule. “We did not decide in what mode to repair or fix them,” Mills said.

Those bridges in particular give access to the north side of the turnpike for homeowners on the south side, he said.

Leibowitz said the Litchfield delegation did not address the Maine Turnpike Authority board during the meeting.

“We had supplied input earlier, including memos of concern to the turnpike with over 300 signatures,” Leibowitz said. “We definitely had made our point that it really mattered to us.”

Betty Adams — 621-5631

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