The Frank J. Wood Bridge—the green bridge over the Androscoggin River that connects Brunswick and Topsham—will not undergo construction until at least 2019. The Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) will be investigating several alternative project options first to ensure compliance with the National Historic Preservation Act, the Times Record reported last Friday. 

An inspection on the bridge last summer found “rapid deterioration of structural steel,” and the bridge was downgraded from “fair” to “poor” condition in August. The bridge currently has a 25-ton limit, which means heavy commercial trucks are barred from driving on it. 

The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) is still looking into the effects of different project options on the surrounding historic properties. In a draft report released on February 2, the FHWA outlined five options for the bridge—two that called for its rehabilitation and three that suggested constructing a new bridge. The options will be evaluated based on several factors, including environmental impact, ease of construction, impact on traffic and cost. 

Additionally, the FHWA will be considering the impact of the bridge project on historic properties, even though the report found the bridge itself does not qualify as a historic landmark, as some community members had suggested in the past. 

“The Frank J. Wood Bridge … does not represent emerging technology, nor is its construction associated with a significant event or person,” the report said.

However, several properties on both sides of the river are eligible for the National Historic Register, which means that the FHWA must consider the impact of the bridge project on these surroundings. 

The FHWA is accepting public comments on the report until March 6.