CORINTH – Eight years of planning and $30,000 later, a new multipurpose recreational bridge across Kenduskeag Stream is ready for use.
The Powerline Prowlers Snowmobile Club of Corinth began building the new Grant Bridge in 1995 when organizers applied for and were granted their first building permit.
After receiving a $24,000 federal grant and putting in $6,000 they raised on their own, the club was able to complete the bridge. In addition, some $10,000 in labor and materials was donated to the project.
“We finally got everything together and actually started [building] about this time last year,” bridge coordinator James McGuire said.
The new structure replaces the cable-style Grant Bridge built about 25 years ago. Officials deemed the old cable bridge no longer repairable last year, according to McGuire.
“That one’s seen a better day,” Dennis O’Bar said, pointing toward the dilapidated cable bridge to the left of the new structure. O’Bar was the crew leader of a group from Charleston Correctional Facility that helped to build the bridge.
The new bridge, which is made mainly of hemlock, is much sturdier and larger than its predecessor. Spanning approximately 160 feet over the Kenduskeag Stream, the structure is 12 feet wide and centered on a 90-foot steel I-beam.
“She’s built plenty sturdy,” O’Bar said. The bridge is intended for use not only by snomobilers, but also by all-terrain vehicles, bicyclists, walkers, cross-country skiers and horses.
The bridge is part of ITS 83, a trail that runs from Searsport to northern Maine.
It was built primarily by volunteers, but a crew from Charleston Correctional Facility was called in recently to do a large portion of the work. The club was in a bind to get the bridge completed and was finding it difficult to work only on weekends, especially when the weather didn’t cooperate.
“They’ve treated us real well,” O’Bar said. On some of the coldest working days, people would bring meals down to the men while they were working.
“The fellas really appreciate that kind of stuff,” O’Bar said. “They take more pride in what they’re working on.”
The club still needs to put in some posts, but the bridge is now open for use, McGuire said.
“It’s certainly stronger than the cable bridge,” he said. “It’s solid as a rock.”