Detour ahead in Gorham


Plans to replace an old bridge call for closing parts of both Gray Road travel lanes.

A plan to replace a 67-year-old Gorham bridge would detour traffic for up to three months on a heavily traveled commuter arterial.

The Maine Department of Transportation plans to shut down both travel lanes of a section of Gray Road (Route 202) while the aging Deguio Mill Bridge, which spans the Little River, is replaced. Construction is expected to begin in the summer of 2017.

“They’re going to close down the road 90 days,” Gorham Zoning Administrator David Galbraith said Tuesday.

The bridge is a short distance from the Old Robie School on Gray Road and the roundabout where routes 237 and 202 intersect.

State transportation officials will hold a public hearing on the bridge project on Thursday, Jan. 28, at 6 p.m., in the Town Council chambers at the Gorham Municipal Center, 75 South St.

According to the Department of Transportation website, officials are “particularly interested in learning local views relative to project consistency with local comprehensive plans, discovering local resources, and identifying local concerns and issues.”

The present Deguio Bridge was built in 1949.

“It has pretty much lived its life,” Mark Parlin, the project manager for the state, said Wednesday, but he added it is in “no danger of collapsing.”

Gorham Town Manager David Cole said in an email to town councilors that the project will cost about $1.8 million, but town money won’t be involved.

Parlin said the total cost includes construction, engineering and some right-of-way procurement.

The bridge, Cole wrote, is 60 feet in length, but the replacement will be 130 feet with 11-foot travel lanes and 5-foot shoulders that Parlin said will be paved.

Cole wrote that the foundation of the current bridge was laid for an earlier one in 1893. Parlin said construction of the replacement would include new abutments.

Route 202 is a commuter route, and Parlin estimated that 5,000 vehicles per day travel over the bridge.

During construction, a detour will re-direct drivers to Route 237, which connects to Gorham’s Main Street (Route 25). Parlin said the detour shouldn’t add much time for drivers.

Some drivers might cut across the residential Queen Street, which intersects with routes 202 and 237, and will remain open, according to Galbraith.

Norm Justice, transportation director for Gorham School Department, said Wednesday that a half-dozen school bus routes would require rescheduling while the bridge is closed. Justice would have to reroute most of the buses from North Gorham to Huston Road and then to Fort Hill Road. The closure would also reroute buses to Great Falls Elementary School off Sebago Lake Road (Route 237).

Justice said the bus route along Gray Road (Route 202) might be split up.

“We’ll definitely have to do some rescheduling,” Justice said.

The state will advertise to solicit construction bids in December this year with the project to begin when the construction season opens in 2017.

Parlin said bridge construction typically takes 12 to 18 months, but the state hopes to expedite the project for completion in an estimated 90 days.

“We’re looking to do some rapid construction techniques,” Parlin said.

He said construction would include precast concrete and added that the contractor would be given incentives to complete the job in less than 90 days.

The Deguio Mill Bridge is downstream from a long-ago mill, Parlin said, and that some stones of the old structure remain visible. According to “McLellan’s History of Gorham,” Joseph Deguio owned a mill there sometime in the 1800s.

The Deguio Bridge on Route 202 in Gorham is slated to be replaced in 2017 causing drivers to be detoured to other routes. Maine Department of Transportation has a public meeting on the project at 6 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 28, at Gorham Municipal Center, 75 South St.