The City of Sanford was notified this week that if it does not take action to close Hay Brook Bridge, which carries Bernier/Stone Rd. over Hay Brook at the border with Alfred, by October 7, 2022, the Maine Department of Transportation will close it to all traffic, including pedestrians.
A “Bridge Closed Ahead sign” will be placed at the nearest intersection on each end to allow overload vehicles to use an alternate route. MaineDOT is providing the signs and other materials related to the closure.
This action follows the downgrading of the bridge’s weight limit to ten tons last December, following an inspection by MaineDOT. Public Works Director Matt Hill told the City Council’s Municipal Operations and Property Subcommittee at that time that the vertical abutments were crumbling, and he anticipated the closure if the bridge was not replaced.
When a bridge connects two municipalities, state law requires each side to pay 50% of repair or replacement costs.
In 2020, the City of Sanford got an estimate of $196,600 to replace the bridge, and proposed a cooperative agreement with Alfred under which each community would pay half of the cost, or $98,300. No response from Alfred town administration was received.
The town of Alfred has reportedly declined to pay its share of the burden of bridge repairs on multiple occasions, by voting down warrant articles at town meeting.