Naples Bridge wins AASHTO award
The Maine Department of Transportation’s Bay of Naples Bridge and Causeway Project was named a regional winner at the seventh annual America’s Transportation Awards. The award is given by the American Association of State and Highway Transportation Officials (AASHTO). Wyman & Simpson, Inc. of Richmond served as primary contractor on the project.
The Quality of Life/Community Development category recognizes a transportation project that has contributed to the general quality of life and economic development of local communities. These innovative projects better connect people to businesses, jobs, health care facilities, and recreational activities while encouraging a mix of transportation modes. Priority is given to projects that enhance and support transit and non-motorized transportation. Project nominees should demonstrate community involvement and interaction, and must illustrate the public benefit for customers/users (e.g. – safety, economic development, improved mobility, access to public lands/open spaces).
The competition web site states Maine DOT worked with the community of Naples, located in the heart of the lakes region, to replace a charming but inconvenient movable bridge. The project created a new bridge and causeway with enhanced green space and improved mobility. The new bridge minimized traffic delays, and the new green space and pedestrian access created a pedestrian-friendly environment, as well as civic space for community events and performances.
The new Bay of Naples Bridge opened to vehicle traffic on May 18, 2013. The bridge is part of a $9.7 million project that included construction of a new bridge and restoration of the Naples causeway, including a 15-foot wide boardwalk at the Long Lake side of the bridge and a seawall on the Brandy Pond side.
The bridge replaced a 1954 “swing bridge” and is a solid steel-reinforced structure that is 20 feet thick and rises 10 feet higher than the old bridge at its peak. The bridge also features a 30-foot wide navigation channel for marine traffic, an important feature in this lakeside community.
Planning for the bridge included considerable input from the Naples community, that initially was opposed to the plan to build a fixed bridge, according to MaineDOT’s application for the award: “When MaineDOT came to town to replace the structurally deficient swing span bridge with a fixed bridge in 2006, the outcry was swift and nearly unanimous. . . A ‘save our bridge’ group quickly coalesced to fight the cost-effective fixed bridge option that would also improve navigational clearance for boaters and eliminate traffic delays on Route 302, the east-west highway linking Maine and New Hampshire.
But MaineDOT’s persistent and patient public outreach efforts eventually paid off and the town of Naples formed a working group that included former naysayers, town officials and MaineDOT staff to develop the design concept.”
The competition is co-sponsored by AAA, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.