2014-07-25 / Front Page

Bridge input sought

Transportation department fields queries about the replacement project
By Alex Acquisto
Staff Writer

KENNEBUNK — As a way to seek input from the public about replacing the Mat J. Lanigan Bridge, the Maine Department of Transportation facilitated a preliminary public hearing last Tuesday at Kennebunk High School.

The bridge was named last year after Lanigan, a beloved member of the community, who died after complications from brain surgery. The bridge connects Lower Village Kennebunk with Kennebunkport’s Dock Square.

The bridge was built in 1933 as a swing bridge when transportation by boay was more frequent on the Kennebunk River.

Leanne Timberlake, the bridge replacement project manager, cited the superstructure’s poor condition, specifically the steel stringers. Stringers are loadcarrying beams that rest on abutments at both ends of the bridge.

The estimated cost for complete replacement is approximately $2.2 million.

“Typically,” Timberlake said, “we will hold two public meetings, a preliminary public meeting near the beginning of the project to gather information from the town officials, the abutting property owners and businesses, and the general public about their concerns; and a formal public meeting after we’ve completed a Preliminary Design Report (PDR), where we present our recommendations for the project to the public for their feedback.”

“For this project, we will also be working with a local advisory committee that has membership representing both towns to provide us with more direct input as we develop the project. We also have direct contact with municipal officials as needed throughout the project.”

Timberlake said the July 15 preliminary public hearing was “very helpful,” in terms of gathering information.

“We were looking for feedback on potential temporary detour options; timing of construction during the non-tourist season; the width of a new bridge (sidewalks/ shoulders/travel way); flooding history; recreational usage; etc,” Timberlake said.

The next step to be taken is forming the local bridge replacement advisory committee, which will have equal representation from both Kennebunk and Kennebunkport and one representative from the Chamber of Commerce.

The committee will likely have 10 members.

Kennebunk Town Hall issued a flier late last week that asks all residents interested in becoming a member of the Mat J. Lanigan Bridge Replacement Committee to pick up a form.

“This committee will work with Department of Transportation officials on specific topics, such as the timing of the construction; maintenance of traffic during construction; roadway, shoulder and sidewalk widths on the bridge and on the approaches; bridge rail types; etc.,” reads the flier.

Timberlake anticipates kicking off the first bridge replacement advisory committee meeting sometime in August. A formal public meeting with both towns will take place in early 2015, Timberlake said.

Advertising for construction bids is tentatively set for summer 2016, with the goal of starting construction by late fall 2016.

Said Timberlake, “We don’t know yet how long it will take to construct the project, but we currently estimate two to three seasons, depending on what we actually do for the bridge, how traffic is maintained during construction, and how much time during the off-season we allow a contractor to work.”

Kennebunk residents interested in becoming a member of the bridge advisory committee should fill out a Committee Volunteer Form (from the town manager’s office) no later than Thursday, Aug. 7. Interviews for potential committee members will take place Tuesday, Aug. 12 at 6:15 p.m. on the third floor of town hall. For more information visit www.kennebunkmaine.us, or by phone, 985-2102.

Interested residents in Kennebunkport are urged to contact their town hall at www.kennebunkportme.gov or by phone, 967-4243.

Timberlake can be reached by email at leanne.timberlake@maine.gov.

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