ST. ALBANS – A weight limit has been imposed on Indian Bridge in St. Albans effective immediately, as town officials make plans to have it repaired later this summer.
Town Manager Rhonda Stark said that after voters approved a $60,000 general obligation bond toward the repairs at the annual town meeting, construction was scheduled to get underway in June. “We would have liked to have it finished by July 4,” Stark said. “But the selectmen were concerned about the water levels due to the lack of rain. We have to open the dam and lower the water level when we do the job. If we do it in June and don’t get much rain, the levels may not come up for the rest of the summer.”
So the latest plan calls for a 10-ton per vehicle gross weight limit on the bridge until repairs are made after Labor Day. Because the Maine Department of Transportation considers the 14-foot bridge a “minor span” – less then 20 feet in length – the town has to pay for the entire cost of the repair.
In addition to the $60,000 bond, voters also approved transferring just under $32,000 from reserve funds for the upgrade. Stark said that some rough estimates of the cost were as high as $83,500 “but we hope it will be a lot less.”
The bridge consists of a corrugated metal plate arch, resembling a large culvert, on concrete footings that crosses a small inlet on Ripley Road between Big Indian Pond and Little Indian Pond.
Stark said that DOT engineers and town officials have been concerned about the bridge for a quite a few years. “You can see where the metal is starting to deteriorate, so it’s definitely a high-priority item,” the town manager said.