GARDINER — State transportation officials are expected to present recommendations and details of the project to replace two well-traveled bridges in Gardiner in 2018 and 2019.

Both the Maine Avenue bridge and the Bridge Street bridge, which cross Cobbosseecontee Stream near where it flows into the Kennebec River, are at the end of their useful lives and are slated for replacement.

For months, state transportation officials have been meeting with Gardiner officials, business owners and residents who make up the Bridge Advisory Committee to talk about how the project would take place, highlighting considerations such as how this project may affect other expected construction projects and business in Gardiner’s historic downtown.

Leanne Timberlake, a Department of Transportation project manager, said she and her colleagues are prepared to answer questions from public and collect their comments.

They also plan to talk about improvements to the intersections of Water Street and Brunswick Avenue, and Water Street and Church Street, as part of the project.

Among the recommendations to be presented are the proposed construction schedule and plans to keep traffic flowing during construction.

Gardiner residents and business owners are aware of the pending project and the changes it might bring.

It’s already clear that replacing the Bridge Street bridge will require the relocation of Dennis’s Pizza.

Jeremy Jones, who took a short break from working on his Central Street house Friday, says the project will be “mayhem” for the city’s residential areas, and create bottlenecks for traffic, pushing more vehicles through residential neighborhoods like his.

If the project were happening now, it would be a great inconvenience to him; he recently quit one of his three jobs that would take him through the work area regularly on his way across the Pearl Harbor Remembrance bridge that crosses the Kennebec River. Traveling to the other two will not take him near the work zone.

As much as he would prefer to see Central Street repaved first, Jones said he knows the bridge projects need to be done.

From his shop on Water Street, Rick McCormick said he’s got things other than bridge construction to keep him up at night.

“What can I do? Losing sleep isn’t going to change anything,” the owner of Mainiac Brewing and Supply said.

McCormick is not concerned that his customers, who travel from across the state to his shop, will be deterred, nor is he worried that deliveries to his shop will be affected.

“It’s gonna be what it’s gonna be,” he said. “We don’t rely on foot traffic. We’re more of a destination.”

The meeting is scheduled for 6 p.m., Wednesday, in the Little Theater at the Gardiner Area High School on West Hill Road.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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