Brunswick-Topsham bridge deemed unfit for big rigs

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BRUNSWICK — The weight limit posted for the Frank J. Wood Bridge is changing to a maximum of 25 tons beginning Thursday, Aug. 18, at 8 a.m.

The Maine Department of Transporatation announced it will reduce the weight limit as a result of findings from  a recent inspection, when bridge engineers discovered “rapid deterioration of structural steel which triggered a drop in the ranking of the bridge deck and superstructure from fair condition to poor condition,” according to a press release Monday.

The bridge is still safe, the DOT assured motorists, but requires immediate repairs. The posting will stay in effect for several years, and should only affect large, five-axle trucks and large commercial vehicles. Vehicles exceeding the new weight limit will be directed to a 1-mile detour.

The DOT announced plans earlier this year to replace the historic green bridge in 2018; town officials and residents are still waiting for the department to release its preliminary design report, which is expected to sometime in September.