The replacement of a bridge carrying Route 41 over the confluence of Echo Lake and Taylor Pond will be the topic of a meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the Mount Vernon Community Center, and already one selectman has said he’d like it widened.

The state Department of Transportation has invited Mount Vernon residents and others to a preliminary public meeting to discuss replacing the two-lane bridge, which was erected in 1929, according to state records.

The Mount Vernon West Bridge, as it is called, is at the north end of Echo Lake, which is also known as Crotched Pond, and close to the two public boat launches, a dam and the Chimney, a tall brick tower that is a local landmark.

Mark Parlin, the state’s project manager, said Thursday that replacing the bridge, which stands on concrete abutments, is part of department’s regular program, which includes inspections every two years and replacement when necessary.

He said the project probably would be completed in the 2018 construction season.

The intent of Monday’s meeting is information-gathering.

“We might throw out ideas of different ways to maintain traffic during construction,” Parlin said. “This is the early stages. There’s no design work done.”

Paul Crockett, chairman of the Mount Vernon selectmen, said Thursday he plans to propose that the bridge be made wider.

“It’s very narrow,” Crockett said. “Right now if people are fishing off that bridge, they’re literally in the travel lane. I’d like to hear that they’re widening it if they’re replacing it.”

Crockett said the town recently got a flier from the state about the public hearing and has placed notices in various locations in town.

Crockett said he anticipates most people will accept the need to have the project done.

“I see it as a necessary disruption,” Crockett said. “What can you do? The bridge is built in 1929 and needs to be replaced and, by the way, it needs to be widened.”

Parlin said he hopes those attending the preliminary meeting include residents, selectmen, emergency responders and school representatives so all aspects of the project can be covered.

He said number of vehicles traveling across the bridge is fairly low, with a study showing it has an average daily traffic count of less that 1,000 vehicles.

“We will likely look at options of doing it in staged construction — one side at a time — and also look at closure and detour,” Parlin said. “There could be a temporary bridge, but looking at the site, it might be unlikely.”

Several roads are available for detours.

Parlin said the amount of money built into the program for the project, including construction, engineering and right-of-way work, is $800,000.

Betty Adams — 621-5631

[email protected]

Twitter: @betadams


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