GARDINER — State transportation officials are seeking input on the concerns that Gardiner residents have about two bridge reconstruction projects scheduled for 2018 and 2019.

On Thursday, transportation officials are holding an informational meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center at Gardiner Area High School to share information on replacing the Bridge Street bridge and the Maine Avenue bridge, as well as give the latest updates on the projects, gather comments and listen to concerns.

Both bridges cross Cobbosseecontee Stream along the north edge of downtown Gardiner, and they are expected to be replaced in sequence — the Maine Avenue bridge in 2018 and the Bridge Street bridge in 2019.

Leanne Timberlake, senior project manager for the Maine Department of Transportation’s Bridge Program, said officials will present their findings so far, but no formal recommendations on bridge design or maintaining traffic flow will be presented.

“We like suggestions and ideas,” said Ted Talbot, Department of Transportation spokesman. “We like to overcome obstacles about a detour route or a bridge design. Do people want a pedestrian path or a bike lane? We encourage (ideas) to be aired, but we can’t always accommodate them.”

For just about a year, Gardiner’s Bridge Advisory Committee has been meeting regularly about the projects and their expected effect on the city.

In January, the committee discussed traffic routing and detours with state transportation officials and the state’s consulting engineers for the project and the effect those projects might have on the anticipated redevelopment of the former T.W. Dick properties at Summer and Bridge streets.

This meeting is the next step in a process that’s expected to stretch into the summer.

Residents and business owners have been concerned about maintaining the flow of traffic into downtown Gardiner to keep commerce afloat during construction. The Bridge Street bridge carries traffic north and south on U.S. Route 201 and it crosses Water Street, where Gardiner’s historic downtown is located. The Maine Avenue bridge is parallel to the Bridge Street bridge, crossing Cobbosseecontee Stream near its mouth at the Kennebec River. Maine Avenue is the main access route to a Hannaford supermarket and connects with Church Street at Water Street.

In addition, the construction is scheduled to start in 2018 — the same year in which Hallowell’s Water Street reconstruction is expected to take place. However, at the January meeting, officials said the Gardiner construction would start only after work is completed in Hallowell.

Mayor Thom Harnett, who is a member of the Bridge Advisory Committee, said there has been little public participation at the advisory committee meetings.

“It’s hard to say how many people will go to the meeting,” he said. “I always wish more people would attend than will attend.”

Even so, the Gardiner business community has provided some feedback via a survey that has been distributed in Gardiner, he said.

Harnett said he hopes that people will attend to make their concerns and ideas known early in the process.

Once designs and detour routes are finalized, they are expected to be discussed at public meetings later in the year.

Gardiner Area High School is at 40 West Hill Road.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ