RICHMOND — A Woolwich-based contractor’s $14.3 million bid has been selected by the state to build the Richmond-Dresden bridge.

Reed & Reed Inc. beat out four other bidders for the work. The next closest bidder was CPM Constructors, of Freeport, at $17.6 million.

Reed & Reed’s Woolwich headquarters is about 10 miles from the bridge site.

Ted Talbot, spokesman for the state Department of Transportation, said Reed & Reed’s bid was $7.1 million below the $21.4 million the state estimated construction would cost.

He also said the low bid is part of a trend in recent years of more bids coming in lower than state estimates. He said the state benefits from the bids by saving money that can then be put into other projects, and contractors benefit by keeping their crews working.

“It’s a trend we see every Wednesday, when we put our work out to bid,” Talbot said of bids coming in lower than estimated. “It’s a wonderful example of funds being put back into the system so our customers — taxpayers — immediately see benefits from this.”

The current bridge, built in 1931, is a swing bridge with a span that swings to the side to allow ships too high to pass under it through.

The new bridge will be about 75 feet at its peak and was designed to be tall enough, without a moving span, to allow Coast Guard ships to travel underneath to break ice.

It will be built just north of the existing bridge and will be about 1,300 feet long.

The old bridge will remain in place and be used until the new bridge opens, projected to be in July of 2015.

Talbot said the old bridge will then be removed by the end of December 2015.

The bridge carries Route 197 over the Kennebec River between Dresden and Richmond.

The bridge project will be funded, in part, by a $10.8 million federal grant.

Keith Edwards — 621-5647
[email protected]

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