Rating:
1 vote

Falls Bridge (1926)

Photos 

Stevens Bridge

Looking west at tidal basin outflow

Photo taken by Craig Philpott in October 2009

Enlarge

BH Photo #147988

Street Views 

Facts 

Overview
Rainbow arch bridge over Tidal Basin on ME 175/ME 3 in Blue Hill
Location
Hancock County, Maine
Status
Open to traffic
Future prospects
Demolition and replacement to take place in 2022. Awarded to Cianbro Corporation of Pittsfield, Maine on January 03, 2022.
History
Built 1926
Design
Concrete through arch
Dimensions
Length of largest span: 100.1 ft.
Total length: 113.9 ft.
Deck width: 20.3 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 14.2 ft.
Recognition
Eligible for the National Register of Historic Places
Also called
Stevens Bridge
Tidal Basin Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+44.37444, -68.55972   (decimal degrees)
44°22'28" N, 68°33'35" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/535076/4913557 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Brooklin
Average daily traffic (as of 2016)
1,867
Inventory numbers
ME 5038 (Maine bridge number)
BH 19857 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of August 2017)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 35.9 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Categories 

Arch (12,778)
Built 1926 (816)
Built during 1920s (10,350)
Doomed (1,079)
Hancock County, Maine (57)
Have street view (30,052)
Maine (1,000)
NR-eligible (4,125)
Navigable waterway (2,235)
Open (41,258)
Owned by state (16,706)
Rainbow arch (260)
Span length 100-125 feet (4,645)
Total length 100-125 feet (5,539)

Update Log 

  • January 12, 2022: Updated by Nathan Holth: Updated demolition plans.
  • November 29, 2021: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • June 18, 2020: New photos from Patrick Gurwell
  • June 11, 2020: New photo from Patrick Gurwell
  • March 23, 2019: New Street View added by Dana and Kay Klein
  • January 3, 2015: New photos from Jack Schmidt
  • September 8, 2010: Updated by Nathan Holth: This bridge's future is now uncertain.
  • April 13, 2010: New Street View added by Nathan Holth
  • October 20, 2009: Updated by Craig Philpott: added photos and alternate name

Related Bridges 

Sources 

Comments 

Falls Bridge (1926)
Posted September 9, 2022, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Given Maine's decrepit record towards historic bridge preservation, this unfortunately is no real surprise.

Falls Bridge (1926)
Posted September 8, 2022, by Patrick Gurwell (pgurwell [at] gmail [dot] com)

That's too bad. Nice bridge, in a pretty spot. Doesn't seem like it gets enough traffic to demolish it.

Falls Bridge (1926)
Posted September 8, 2022, by Anonymous

Geez Louise, they're literally BRAGGING about this on social media!!

https://www.instagram.com/p/CiP6KRCMaDo/?igshid=NmNmNjAwNzg=

Falls Bridge (1926)
Posted September 21, 2021, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

This is a beautiful bridge and its in good condition. But Maine is a lost cause. With the exception of any covered bridges and maybe that one timber tower suspension bridge, I would assume every historic bridge in Maine to be "slated for demolition." Worst preservation track record in the country. The last Section 106 Review I was a part of (Frank J. Wood) ended in the community filing a lawsuit against the department. Thats how bad it is. They demolished one of the last two belidor bascules in the country. They demolished a David Steinman suspension bridge. They demolished the last remaining pin connected highway truss in the entire state. This state's pure hatred of historic bridges knows no limits.

Falls Bridge (1926)
Posted September 21, 2021, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

This is sad but not as all surprising given that it's Maine.

Falls Bridge (1926)
Posted September 21, 2021, by Art Suckewer (Asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

DOOMED:

https://weeklypacket.com/news/2021/sep/17/falls-bridge-const...

BLUE HILL

Originally published in The Weekly Packet, September 16, 2021

Falls Bridge construction project scheduled

Project estimated at $10.5 million

by Jeffrey B. Roth

Bids for the replacement of the Falls Bridge, located on Falls Bridge Road, Route 175, are scheduled to go out on October 13, according to Paul Merrill, the public information officer for the Maine Department of Transportation.

Construction of the estimated $10.5 million replacement bridge is scheduled to begin in the early spring of 2022 and is expected to continue through the spring of 2024, Merrill explained in an August 24 email to the The Packet. He added that as the project moves forward, construction schedules and related information will be updated as needed.

The concrete bridge, officially named the Stevens Bridge when built in 1926, is one of two historic rainbow arch bridges remaining in Maine, according to historicbridges.org. The 114-foot bridge spans the Salt Pond tidal basin.

“During our last Falls Bridge Advisory Committee meeting, we discussed salvaging the bronze plaque on the bridge, and there was mention of removing the four existing finials,” Merrill said. “Mr. [Scott] Miller, [Blue Hill select board], asked if the town could request other items for salvage, and I indicated that the timeline was short because the contract documents need to be complete by September 15th.”

At the August 16 Blue Hill select board meeting, Miller noted that the bronze plaques—the one on the south entrance to the bridge is inscribed with the 1926 construction date, and the north entrance plaque carries the Stevens Bridge inscription—are scheduled to be salvaged. In addition, four concrete finials, each weighing about 200 pounds, will be salvaged during the demolition phase of the project. Miller explained that federal regulations require that archival photographs of the existing bridge must be taken to document the project.

“I informed Mr. Miller in a follow-up e-mail that if the municipality had additional salvage requests, we would need to know by September 8th,” Merrill said. “Since this is a concrete structure, demolition may limit or prohibit salvage with an emphasis being placed on the safe removal of the bridge. Salvageable items will be left within the project limits for the municipality to pick up.”

Miller told the board that the bridge advisory committee discussed a plan for the construction of a temporary one-lane bridge that could be used to divert traffic for 10 to 24 months, while the new bridge is being constructed. The current design specifications of the bridge are “basically as it was,” with two 11-foot wide lanes.

“There is one maintenance of traffic plan, and that is the installation of a temporary bridge on the Salt Pond side,” Merrill said. “The temporary bridge will be single-lane, alternating one-way traffic controlled by temporary traffic signals.”

Merrill said, “There will be specific construction activities that will require the contractor to detour traffic around the bridge site. The contractor will have the ability to close the bridge and detour traffic to Route 172 during construction, but the contractor is limited to a total aggregate of 60 days of bridge closure time.”

For more information on the Falls Bridge Project, visit townofbluehillmaine.org/falls-bridge-project.

Falls Bridge

Here today, gone tomorrow. A scenic view of Falls bridge at low tide.

Photo courtesy of Stephen Greenberg

Falls Bridge
Posted November 6, 2017, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Nothing good that I am aware of. Its been a while since I heard anything, but last I heard MaineDOT definitely wants to replace the bridge. There was some local opposition, but given Maine's handling of other projects I doubt this will change the outcome (demolition and replacement). If someone has more recent news, I would welcome it too.

Falls Bridge
Posted November 5, 2017, by Curious

Any news on this rare bridge?

Falls Bridge
Posted November 14, 2014, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

Research continuing but a picture in the article Shows the prior bridge; a lenticular truss!

http://weeklypacket.com/news/2014/nov/13/mdot-outlines-issue...

Falls Bridge
Posted May 6, 2011, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

Here is a big surprise. Maine DOT came out and declared their preferred solution is to demolish this extremely rare historic bridge. http://new.bangordailynews.com/2011/05/06/news/hancock/mdot-...

Typical nonsense in the article, like claims a repair will only last 15 years. Unless the repair is to spit on the bridge and call it good, I don't know how even a poorly planned repair project could be so ineffective. They probably hired a consultant with no preservation experience but extensive new bridge experience. Like having a brain surgeon do quadruple heart bypass. Two completely different things. This is further suggested by claim new bridge would last 85-100 years. If they do build a new bridge, the DOT can let us know how that 85 year life thing is working 25 years after the bridge is built. Good luck with that. Maybe they get 50 years if it never snows in Maine. But last time I checked, it does occasionally snow in Maine during the winter.

Part of me wants to contact the DOT and try to work with them to convince them of the value of the bridge and find an effective rehab method that saves tax dollars and preserves this heritage for decades to come. But is it really worth the effort? They already demolished a nationally significant multi-span rainbow arch, one of the finest in the country. They are supporting demo of two different National Register Eligible state line vertical lift bridges all as part of one project. There aren't hardly any historic bridges left in the state. Why not let them go ahead and demolish every historic bridge in the state and earn the distinction of being the only state in the northeastern USA to have a historic bridge population comparable to Nevada, which is NOT a compliment.

Falls Bridge
Posted September 8, 2010, by Craig Philpott (cphilpott [at] puc [dot] edu)

This is very disappointing news indeed. I visited this bridge just a year ago and there is nothing structurally visibly wrong. It does not meet current width standards or sidewalk standards but to replace it with a UCB is a travesty.

Falls Bridge
Posted September 8, 2010, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

A study to determine a preferred alternative to improve this crossing is underway. Even though there is nothing wrong with this bridge, Maine will probably demolish and replace this bridge.

Looking at this bridge, one might think this bridge is too amazing and historic to be replaced. However Maine demolished one of the largest rainbow arch bridges in the country a couple years ago, demonstrating the level of commitment this state has to historic bridges, even those of national significance.