News Release for July 13, 2011

For more Information:
Paul Merrill, Public Information Officer - 207-624-3355 or 207-215-9297


Black Bridge Over Androscoggin River To Remain Closed

BRUNSWICK/TOPSHAM, Maine -- MaineDOT engineers have completed an in-depth inspection of the Black Bridge that connects Brunswick and Topsham over the Androscoggin River and will keep the bridge closed until options are discussed with Topsham and Brunswick.

By utilizing a railway underbridge inspection truck to access the underside of the bridge, it was discovered that portions of the pressure-treated wooden bridge deck, pressure-treated beams and steel floor beams have deteriorated and would no longer be safe or prudent for continued motor vehicle use.

In the upcoming weeks, MaineDOT officials will meet with representatives from Brunswick and Topsham to discuss the future of the Black Bridge. In order to reopen the bridge to vehicle traffic, the entire vehicle portion of the bridge would need to be replaced.

The Black Bridge was closed in April after a vehicle crashed into the bridge’s steel suspension rods and pressure-treated guardrail. The steel suspension rods are the main support system for the bridge deck.

An initial inspection of the bridge showed little visible damage to the suspension rods. The suspension rods were also strength-tested last year and were found sound. Examination of the pressure-treated guardrail showed deterioration in the posts, and that coupled with the increasing number of vehicle crashes the bridge was closed for safety reasons.

The black bridge is an unusual bridge in that it is two tiers. It carries the Lewiston Lower Road rail line on the upper tier, and suspension rods attached to the rail bridge support a steel and wood lower tier that carries alternating one-way traffic over the river.

The upper railway deck of the bridge will continue to remain open.