Presumpscot River bridge detour expected to upset Falmouth residents

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FALMOUTH — The Route 100/26 bridge over the Presumpscot River and railroad tracks will be limited to vehicles weighing 22 tons or less for the next 11 months while a new bridge is completed.

Heavy trucks will be rerouted through several Falmouth neighborhoods.

“That bridge is nearing the end of its life,” Maine Department of Transportation spokesman Mark Latti said. “Taking the heavy trucks off the bridge will extend its life until the new bridge is finished.”

Latti said the bridge, built in 1932, is safe for passenger cars, pickup trucks, school buses and small emergency vehicles. But Falmouth and Portland emergency personnel will not be able to send large fire trucks across the bridge.

“It’s an inconvenience, but it doesn’t affect our first responders,” Falmouth Fire Chief Howard Rice said.

Rice said tanker and ladder trucks from Falmouth and Portland will have to take the detour until the new bridge is finished, but smaller fire trucks are well under the weight limit and safe to send out on calls that take them across the bridge.

DOT officials said the bridge will be plowed by smaller plow trucks instead of large snow plows, which are too heavy.

Trucks over 22 tons will have to take a detour through the residential neighborhoods along Blackstrap, Brook and Leighton roads. DOT estimates 350 trucks will utilize the detour each day.

“We will be increasing (speed) enforcement up through that area,” Falmouth Police Lt. John Kilbride said. “It will be zero tolerance. We’re not going to accept even 5 mph over the speed limit.”

Still, he said, the department is expecting calls from concerned residents.

“It is putting big trucks through residential neighborhoods,” Kilbride said. “People are going to be upset.”

Emily Parkhurst can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 125 or eparkhurst@theforecaster.net

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