Hello to the New Waterville Bridge
We have written recently about the demise of our old steel truss bridge. While we will miss the simple beauty of the old bridge there are things we will not miss. The bridge seems brutally narrow when crossing against an on-coming large vehicle or in traffic at night. It is dangerous to cross on a bicycle and impassable for trucks with a high load as a few of its faults.
Waterville folks cheered when the old 1888 iron wagon bridge collapsed in 1941. It had been condemned for years. They cheered again when we finally opened a new bridge in 1947 after having to spend the war years without one. Then we were very unhappy when the bridge was closed for much of 1988 for reconstruction. Fortunately the new river crossing will only need a short closure when the new bridge will have to be connected to existing roadways.
This new bridge has been carefully planned, with a great deal of input from the city administration and public groups including Waterville Historical Society. The alignment of the bridge and many of the aesthetic aspects were presented to these groups by O.D.O.T. for a vote, leading to the final plans. The details of this bridge have recently been published in the local news media so I will only mention a few. Wide traffic lanes will be separated from pedestrian and bicycle lanes on both sides of the bridge. The outer railing will be wrought iron for a better river view. There will be bump-out pedestrian overlooks where folks can stop and admire or photograph the river view. There will be architectural elements molded into the concrete and in the iron railings that reflect some iconic Waterville features such as the arches and posts of the Roche de Boeuf bridge. These will make our bridge both attractive and unique to Waterville, a bridge to which we can feel a proud ownership.
Note: There are plans and paperwork regarding the new bridge on file in Wakeman Archives available to anyone who would like to know more.