GARDINER — As state transportation planners near completion on plans to replace two bridges in Gardiner, a second bridge project is shaping up across the Kennebec River on the Randolph-Pittston town line.

The repair to a concrete wing wall — the part that supports the structure — on the Pittston end of the Togus Bridge, which crosses the mouth of Togus Stream on the east side of the Kennebec, is expected to take place in about a year. It is not, however, expected to affect traffic detours from the more complicated bridge replacement projects taking place in Gardiner on the west side of the river.

Work on the Gardiner projects is expected to get underway in earnest next year, but the work that will require closures of the Bridge Street and Maine Avenue bridges is scheduled to take place after the Togus Bridge repair is expected to be complete.

That schedule and the expected effects were outlined in a presentation Wednesday to the Gardiner City Council, and they also are expected to be presented at a public meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Monday in the Gardiner Area High School auditorium.

In addition to replacing the bridges that cross Cobbosseecontee Stream at the edge of Gardiner’s downtown neighborhood, the $12 million project is expected to improve the Water Street intersections where Bridge Street becomes Brunswick Avenue and where Church Street becomes Maine Avenue, and add a new, multi-use pedestrian bridge parallel to the Maine Avenue bridge.

Tim Merritt, the Stantec Inc. engineering consultant on the Gardiner project, said plans are expected to be complete in mid-September, and the project is expected to be put out to bid by late October.

“We expect the overall construction to start in early 2019, and we expect to reach substantial completion by late 2020,” Merritt said, noting that some finish work might take until early 2021.

While traffic will be affected during the work, the contract is expected to limit full closures to 15 days on the Maine Avenue bridge between November 2019 and April 2020, and 30 days on the Bridge Street bridge from August 2020 to October 2020. At some points, work might continue around the clock.

Merritt said intermittent closures also are expected, but to minimize traffic delays through the heavily traveled corridors, construction will be accelerated as much as possible, fueled by incentives to the contractor.

Accelerating the construction timeline is one of eight goals that have been worked out during 17 meetings between state transportation officials and members of Gardiner’s Bridge Advisory Committee. Other goals include public information initiatives to announce that downtown Gardiner businesses remain open and ensuring that delivery trucks will have access to businesses.

Some of the project work already has begun. The Department of Transportation has bought and demolished the Bridge Street building that housed Dennis’ Pizza to make way for bridge replacement.

Across the river, planning the replacement of a portion of the structure supporting the Togus Bridge, located on routes 27 and 126 at the Randolph-Pittston line, has started.

Eric Calderwood, of Calderwood Engineering, said at a public meeting Tuesday in Randolph that three options were considered to rehabilitate the wing wall, but the preferred option now is filling the crack and running a bolt through it to keep it stable.

Joseph Stilwell, a project manager with the Maine Department of Transportation, said the goal is to extend the life of the bridge to about 100 years, a milestone that the span would reach in about eight more years.

“We want to make the best use of the state’s money,” he said.

Because the rest of the bridge is in good shape, state transportation officials say replacing it isn’t needed right now.

The cost of that would be about $1 million, Stilwell said. The estimated cost of this repair is about $170,000, although it has not yet been put out to bid.

“There’s no reason to replace it now,” he said. “We can do more bridges with no life left in them. Age aside, this bridge is in great shape.”

By contract, both the Maine Avenue bridge, built in 1933, and the Bridge Street bridge, built in 1918, have reached the end of their useful lives and need to be replaced.

Jessica Lowell — 621-5632

[email protected]

Twitter: @JLowellKJ

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