Topsham riverbank and Summer Street houses from the Frank J. Wood Bridge
Main(e) Street Bridge Project
The Maine Department of Transportation (Maine DOT) determined that the Frank J. Wood Bridge (also known as the "Green Bridge") that links Main Street in Topsham to Maine Street in Brunswick and is a critical element of the Riverwalk, is in need of complete rehabilitation or replacement. In August 2016, Maine DOT posted a 25-ton weight limit for the bridge and undertook significant temporary repairs in November 2016 that closed one lane of the bridge - from Brunswick to Topsham - for several weeks. During that time, northbound traffic to Topsham was diverted to the Route 196 connector over the Merrymeeting Bridge. The weight limit is still in effect. School busses, fire engines, and most trucks are banned from the bridge and must use alternate routes.
While the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) conducted a Section 106 review to determine the historic significance of the Frank J. Wood Bridge and the environmental impact (among other considerations) of various options, including a rehabilitation of the existing bridge and the construction of a new bridge, the Maine DOT developed preliminary designs for a new bridge that would be located slightly upstream of the current bridge, closer to the dam. Unlike the Frank J. Wood Bridge, which caused a realignment of Main Street in Topsham and of Maine Street in Brunswick in 1932, the proposed replacement will land at the same locations as the current bridge.
A Design Advisory Committee comprised of citizens from Topsham and Brunswick provided input to the Maine DOT as it explored the feasibility of a potential replacement span. Click here for the "Preliminary Report on Design Recommendations" issued by that committee in 2017. Click here for recommendations updated in 2020.
Construction of the new bridge began in August 2023 and is expected to be completed in late 2026, but the new bridge is expected to be open to traffic earlier than that. Updates can be found on Maine DOT's project page.
Other Related Maine DOT Studies
In addition to its planning for the Maine(e) Street Bridge, Maine DOT undertook two other studies that will impact the Riverwalk.
One is focused on the complex intersection of Maine Street between Fort Andross and Mason Street with access to and from Route One Northbound and Southbound, Fort Andross parking areas, and key streets connected to Mason Street: Federal Street and Water Street. This intersection is known locally as the "Pool Table." The access to Route One Southbound runs beside the River on Mill Street. Click here for a copy of the presentation of the findings. The Brunswick Town Council endorsed Option A6 in 2019. That project is currently on hold.
The second is a feasibility study for the Brunswick section of the Riverwalk that runs from the Main(e) Street Bridge to the Swinging Bridge for which a concept plan has been developed and can be found on the Riverwalk Photo Tour. Plans are now being developed for the Mill Street section that runs between the Androscoggin Swinging Bridge and the end of Bow Street (see map).