News Release for December 12, 2011

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


Richmond-Dresden Bridge Awarded Federal Grant Money

Dresden – Federal officials have announced the awarding of $10.8 million in TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) grant money for replacement of the Richmond-Dresden Bridge, formally known to the MaineDOT as the Maine Kennebec Bridge, which carries Route 197 over the Kennebec River. Maine Department of Transportation Commissioner David Bernhardt says with the state commitment, the project is estimated to cost about $25 million. “This is an important project that has been a very high priority,” says Commissioner Bernhardt, “and I want to thank Senator Susan Collins for her dedication and tenacity in helping to ensure this bridge received the additional funding, and realizing safety is the first concern for all of us.”

Senator Collins is the senior Republican on the Senate Transportation Appropriations Subcommittee. “I was truly alarmed to see firsthand the deteriorated condition of the Richmond-Dresden Bridge when I recently visited,” said Sen. Collins who toured the bridge on Dec. 2nd along with Commissioner Bernhardt, and local officials. “It is an understatement to say that the time has come to replace and modernize this 80 year old bridge which is a critically important transportation link in this area. When I spoke to Secretary LaHood and urged his department to give full consideration to the application, I stressed that this will be a true partnership at the local, state and the federal levels.” Sen. Collins continued, “I also want to thank Commissioner Bernhardt for his strong commitment to ensuring safe and reliable transportation infrastructure in our state, and for working to create these local, state and federal partnerships that are needed to help secure this important funding”

Officials plan to replace the bridge, built in 1931, with a span high enough to allow marine traffic to pass safely underneath. Currently, about 3,200 vehicles use the bridge daily. Commissioner Bernhardt intends to start construction on the bridge next year, with the hopes of the replacement bridge ready for traffic in 2015.