ASPIRE is a quarterly magazine published by PCI in cooperation with the associations of the National Concrete Bridge Council. The editorial content focuses on the latest technology and key issues in the Concrete Bridge Industry.
Issue link: http://www.aspiremagazinebyengineers.com/i/485551
GAINING CONSENSUS Close, regular communication turned contentious public debate to accolades for cast-in-place, rigid-frame replacement project. by Jeff Folsom, Maine Department of Transportation The Naples Bay Bridge & Causeway project saved taxpayers millions of dollars, improved mobility on one of Maine’s busiest east-west thoroughfares, enhanced pedestrian safety, and increased green space in a popular lakeside resort village. Those outcomes weren’t assured, as a contentious public debate from a community loathe to losing its signature (but deteriorating) bridge posed significant obstacles. A carefully managed public-participation and community outreach process eventually turned these challenges into a highly successful project. Nowhere is Maine’s $5-billion tourism industry revered more than in Naples, the heart of the Lakes Region that borders New Hampshire. Nestled between Brandy Pond and Long Lake, the town serves as the village center for summer and year-round residents who enjoy its causeway and signature—but inconvenient—movable bridge. Built in 1954, the bridge was failing and caused significant traffic delays due to its frequent openings. But when the Maine Department of Transportation (MaineDOT) proposed replacing the swing-span bridge with a fixed bridge in 2006, the outcry was swift and nearly unanimous. A “Save Our Bridge” group formed to fight the new bridge, even though it offered a cost-effective option and would improve navigational clearances for boaters. Those factors were less important to the community than retaining the signature look that added to the resort area’s charm. Rather than charge ahead or back off completely, MaineDOT created a working group with the town of Naples that included former Save Our Bridge members. The community’s concerns focused on the bridge’s unique functionality and its aesthetic design. It was one of only two swing bridges left on the state’s canal system. The movable bridge sat on a wide pier and used a massive counterweight to swing open, creating a distinctive operation. But the regular openings created a growing bottleneck for traffic. It also offered only 5 ft of clearance, requiring it to open for virtually every boat that needed passage. What some in the community didn’t realize was that, while the bridge attracted interest, it also caused others to steer clear of the town to avoid becoming stuck in traffic. Defining that loss proved difficult, but the delays definitely were a detriment to the town. PROFILE NAPLES BAY BRIDGE & CAUSEWAY / NAPLES, MAINE BRIDGE DESIGN ENGINEER: Maine Department of Transportation, Augusta, Maine GENERAL CONTRACTOR: Wyman and Simpson Inc., Richmond, Maine COMMUNITY PARTNER: Town of Naples, Maine