HAMPDEN — School buses, ambulances and firetrucks will not be allowed to cross the Manning Mill Road bridge to the five homes that line the dead-end road until necessary repairs have been made.
The one-lane bridge on Manning Mill Road is about 60 feet long, said Town Manager Marie Baker. Children from some of the homes walk to the other side of the bridge to be picked up by school buses.
Baker said the state has ordered the town to post the bridge to a 3-ton limit. She said a bridge inspector showed up at the town office to tell her about the bridge. Towns usually are notified in writing.
The town is working with consultants from the Sewall Co. to come up with cost figures for upgrading the bridge to safety standards. Baker said she also is seeking state financial assistance.
Public safety officials have met with residents of the neighborhood, and portable pumps and hoses and firefighting equipment have been stored on the other side of the bridge to be used in emergencies.
Cars and pickup trucks still can cross the bridge, so there is no problem with getting emergency personnel across the bridge if needed, said the manager.
Baker said she wouldn’t speculate on how old the bridge is, but she did know that the Maine Department of Transportation placed a new deck on it about 12 years ago.