Little Falls bridge rebuild to close busy road

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Fishing at Deguio Mill Bridge in Gorham Tuesday are, from left, Drew Meader, a high school sophmore; Bode Meader, an eighth-grader, and Landon Bickford, in seventh grade. The 68-year old bridge at Little Falls will be replaced this summer, limiting access to the popular fishing hole.

Fishing at Deguio Mill Bridge in Gorham Tuesday are, from left, Drew Meader, a high school sophmore; Bode Meader, an eighth-grader, and Landon Bickford, in seventh grade. The 68-year old bridge at Little Falls will be replaced this summer, limiting access to the popular fishing hole.

The Deguio Mill Bridge on Route 202 over Little River will be replaced, closing a section of the highway for 90 days beginning July 10.

GORHAM — Thousands of commuters and tourists who travel through Little Falls on a busy arterial face finding alternative routes for three months beginning in July.

The Maine Department of Transportation has begun preliminary work to replace the 68-year-old Deguio Mill Bridge on Gray Road (Route 202). Craig Hurd, project engineer, said this week a section of the road will be shut down for 90 days beginning Monday, July 10. “Completely closed,” Hurd said.

The detour will likely shift more traffic onto Mosher Road (Route 237).

Gray Road will reopen on Oct. 8, David Galbraith, the town’s zoning adminstrator, said in an email.

Replacement bridge construction normally takes up to 10 months to complete, but the Little Falls work will be accelerated, Hurd said, for “pretty fast-paced project.”

The bridge is a short distance from the roundabout where Gray Road intersects with Route 237. It is also near the Little Falls Activity Center on Acorn Street, home of the Lakes Region Senior Center.

Blanche Alexander, president of the seniors’ group, planned to discuss the road closure with members at a meeting Wednesday. But David Alexander, her husband, said members know the shortcuts and no one seemed concerned. “There’s a couple of alternatives,” he said.

The bridge is also near the Little Falls Recreation area with ballfields and courts, and closing a section of the road will block vehicle access to a popular fishing hole.

Some preliminary bridge work is already under way with tree and brush clearing along with positioning road cones and posting signs.  Hurd said the new bridge will cost the state an estimated $1.7 million.

Wyman & Simpson Inc. of Richmond is the contractor. Hurd said the new bridge would be 28 feet wide and a 130-foot span. The current bridge, built in 1949, is 60 feet in length.

The bridge derives its name from Joseph Deguio, who owned a mill near the bridge in the 1800s, according to “McLellan’s History of Gorham.” The Little River empties into the Presumpscot River.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 854-2577 or email rlowell@keepmecurrent.com

Thousands of commuters and tourists traveling through  Little Falls on a busy arterial will face finding other alternatives for three months beginning in July.

The Maine Department of Transportation has begun preliminary work to replace the 68-year old Deguio Mill Bridge on Gray Road (Route 202). Craig Hurd, project engineer, said this week a section of the road will be shut down beginning Monday, July 10, for 90 days.
“Completely closed,” Hurd said.

The detour will likely shift more traffic onto Mosher Road (Route 237).

Gray Road will reopen on Oct. 8, David Galbraith, the town’s zoning adminstrator, said in an email last month.

Hurd said the replacement bridge construction would normally take up to 10 months. “It’s an accelerated bridge construction,” Hurd said. “A pretty fast-paced project.”

The bridge is a short distance from the roundabout where Gray Road intersects with Route 237. It is also a short distance from the Little Falls Activity Center on Acorn Street, home of the Lakes Region Senior Center.

Blanche Alexander, president of the seniors’ group, was to discuss the road closure with members at its meeting Wednesday. But David Alexander, her husband, said members know the shortcuts and no one seemed concerned. “There’s a couple of alternatives,” he said.

The bridge is also near the Little Falls Recreation area with ball fields and courts.

Closing a section of the road will block vehicle access to a popular fishing hole near the bridge. Three Gorham  students – Drew Meader, high school sophomore; Bode Meader, eighth grade, middle school; and Landon Bickford, seventh grade, middle school –  Tuesday afternoon were casting lines into the river.

Some preliminary bridge work is already under way with tree and brush clearing along with positioning road cones and posting signs.  Hurd said the new bridge would cost an estimated $1.7 million.

Wyman & Simpson, Inc. of Richmond is the contractor. Hurd said the new bridge would be 28 feet wide and a 130-foot span. The current bridge, built in 1949, is 60 feet in length.

The bridge derives its name from Joseph Deguio, who owned a mill near the bridge in the 1800s, according to “McLellan’s History of Gorham.” The Little River empties into the Presumpscot River.
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Village highway rebuild uncertain

GORHAM – The Maine Department of Transportation hadn’t decided early this week whether to proceed with a project to rebuild Main Street after receiving only one bid on the job.

Shaw Brothers Construction, Inc., of Gorham bid $6.6 million. The state earlier this year estimated the cost at $5.2 million but this week posted on line an estimated cost of $7.2 million.

“We’re still in the process of reviewing the bid,” Rob Betz, the MDOT project manager, said Tuesday.

A decision could come in a few days, according to Betz.

The project would rebuild about 1.4 miles of Route 25 through Gorham Village. A construction contract would require construction crews work nights, Betz said. The night work would avoid detours with the exception of three days when  traffic from Standish that would be detoured to the Bernard P. Rines Bypass.

Jon Shaw, president of Shaw Brothers, agreed Wednesday that the state traansportation officials are right about working nights on the project because daytime traffic would impede getting their trucks through to the job. But, Shaw said night work drives up costs. “So expensive to work at night,” Shaw said.

“I don’t know what to expect,” Shaw said about receiving a green light from the state on the project.

Town Manager David Cole Wednesday said,”I believe they (MDOT) are planning to reject the bid and review plans to see if they can make changes that will lower the cost and then re-bid the project.”

Shaw said shutting down Main Street (Route 25) to traffic days except for emergency vehicles  would save the state money. He also said allowing sidewalk work during days would save funds.

The highway rebuild would go from a point just east of the Main Street intersection of Johnson Road and running about 1.5 miles through the village on Main and State streets to near the intersection with Cressey Road. The rehab would include breaking up sections of the old concrete highway beneath the asphalt surface and also replacing water mains that date back to 1895.

If Shaw Brothers Construction receives a contract, Gorham Sand & Gravel would handle the water work, Shaw said.

Gorham voters in a referendum in November 2015 approved $600,000 as the town’s share of the road rebuild.

“I don’t know if the project can be done this year or if the process I described would simply take too long to accomplish for construction to start until next year,” Cole said.

Robert Lowell can be reached at 854-2577 or email rlowell@keepmecurrent.com