The committee charged with setting design standards for a new bridge connecting Brunswick and Topsham envisions an open-air structure that is equally accessible to vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians.

“The recommended new bridge will fit the natural and historic setting of this inspiring Pejepscot Falls site, and will reopen some gorgeous views,” Bruce Van Note, chairman of the Design Advisory Committee, said in a statement. The committee was appointed last year by both towns to guide the process of replacing an aging metal bridge that now spans the Androscoggin River and is connected to historic mills at either end.

Its report emphasized that design details such as lighting and railings will make the new bridge comfortable for pedestrians and bicyclists, and can “make the difference between whether a bridge feels like a pedestrian-friendly space or a highway overpass.”

The steel in the existing structure, the Frank J. Wood Bridge, has begun to deteriorate, leading both municipalities to the conclusion that it needs to be replaced. Built in 1932, the Wood bridge recently was posted with a 25-ton limit because of the deterioration.

The committee, which has been meeting since June of last year, issued an interim report to the Maine Department of Transportation on Friday after holding a series of public meetings. In its statement, the committee said it would continue to hold public meetings to gather more input.

The committee is working as an adviser to MDOT, which owns and maintains the bridge. The department had been conducting its own study to determine whether it made more sense to replace the bridge or renovate the existing structure. In June, the MDOT and the Federal Highway Administration announced that replacement was the preferred alternative. At the time, a preservationist group said it intended to continue opposing bridge replacement.

The committee’s report suggests that the new bridge, with dedicated bicycle lanes and sidewalks on both sides with bump-outs to view the river, be built slightly upstream from the location of the Wood bridge. Construction is expected to begin in 2019, and MDOT estimates that the project will cost about $13 million.

The heavily traveled bridge is the main thoroughfare between downtown Brunswick and Topsham, and carries approximately 19,000 vehicles a day.

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