Originally published in The Weekly Packet, August 23, 2018
As Falls Bridge decision nears, MDOT plans public meeting
At a public meeting on August 29, the Maine Department of transportation and Falls Bridge Advisory Committee will present their findings on three options.
by Anne Berleant
Demolish and replace? Rehabilitate? Build a new bridge at a new location? Those are the options that a community advisory committee discussed over a year of meetings, weighted by concerns over historic preservation, environmental impacts, archaeological finds, and, for local stakeholders, aesthetics, public safety and local history.
A decision nears, as the Maine Department of Transportation and Falls Bridge Advisory Committee will present their findings on all three options, and more, on August 29. This fall, MDOT will decide and present to the town its “preferred option.”
As a state bridge, MDOT will fund the construction or rehabilitation costs but the town would bear any additions beyond the basic scope of the project.
The Federal Highway Administration will hold a meeting on August 21, 3 p.m., at town hall, for the project’s consulting parties, including MDOT, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission, the Penobscot Nation and towns of Blue Hill and Brooklin. It is open to the public but not for public discussion.
The public meeting is the latest in a series that began in 2015. At that time, MDOT estimated construction would start in 2017 or 2018, but the discovery of archaeological and historic artifacts beyond what was already known, and environmental findings, delayed the project. The MDOT also decided an advisory committee filled with community stakeholders was necessary to ensure transparency in its decision-making.
MDOT will arrive at and present its preferred alternative this fall, barring any further delays.
Details on the design options are online for viewing and printing at townofbluehillmaine.org/falls-bridge-project, along with previous presentation and committee meeting minutes.
Falls Bridge Public Meeting
Wednesday, August 29, 6 p.m., at Blue Hill Town Hall