The 1,500-foot-long bridge under construction between Richmond and Dresden is expected to open the last week of November, replacing the swing bridge that has spanned the Kennebec River for nearly 80 years.

Woolwich-based Reed & Reed has been working on the bridge since July 2013. An early and longer freeze of the river delayed construction for part of the winter, but employees have been working overtime and on some weekends to make up time, said Charlie Guerette, project manager for Reed & Reed.

He said the bridge should be open to traffic the last week of November. Guerette said in July that it would likely open in the first week of December.

The contractor, which won the job with a $14.3 million bid, has begun pouring concrete for the deck sections, Guerette said. Workers will begin pouring the second concrete slab Friday and are expecting to pour a new one each week for the next five weeks, he said.

After that, workers will add curbing, steel bridge rails, a waterproof membrane on the deck and then pave it, Guerette said.

He said there will be some delays on the Dresden side of Route 197 next week as workers build the new access to the bridge, and he thanked the public for its patience.

The new bridge will be high enough for boats to pass underneath it, unlike the current bridge, which swings open to allow taller boats to pass. The peak of the bridge’s deck will be 80 feet above the river with a slope of 6 degrees. Crews will begin taking down the old bridge after the new one opens.

Federal money is covering 80 percent of the estimated $18.6 million project, and the Maine Department of Transportation is funding the other 20 percent.

Paul Koenig — 621-5663

[email protected]

Twitter: @paul_koenig

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