A hydraulic drawbridge that the Maine Department of Transportation had designed to replace the deteriorated swing bridge at The Gut in South Bristol was nixed this winter, even after South Bristol selectmen approved the design and the two-year public process was complete.
Construction was scheduled to begin on the hydraulic bascule-style bridge this fall.
In January, a group of area residents rallied together to persuade the Maine DOT to reopen the public process and consider other options besides the bascule bridge, which would have two large overhead arms that some argued would dominate the view of The Gut and change the character of the scenic village.
Residents hired Miguel Rosales of Rosales + Partners, Boston architects and engineers who specialize in aesthetic bridge design, to propose some alternative bridge ideas to present to the Maine DOT.
Rosales was the lead architect on the high-profile Leonard P. Zakim Bunker Hill Memorial Bridge that crosses the Charles River on the way into downtown Boston.
"We are open to this," said Maine DOT spokesman Ted Talbot, who said there was still work to do on safety and cost. "Of course, it doesn't hurt that they were willing to hire an architect to help with bridge ideas."
The bridge concept that was presented by Rosales is still a bascule style, with overhead arms, but has much less overhead structure and is slimmer in design. The Rosales design concept was reviewed by Maine DOT engineers, who are now moving forward to design a bridge that will rely more on counterweights and gears, with the aim of avoiding building a dominating overhead structure on the bridge.
Talbot said the Maine DOT will have an architectural rendering of the proposed bridge design to share with the public in June.