Move that metal! Crew improves line-of-sight on bridge
By Dawn De Busk
NAPLES — The bridge construction crew did a favor for Naples drivers.
No, it was not stopping the traffic — one lane, then the other — for 10-minute intervals for almost a two-hour span during midmorning on Monday.
Instead, it was improving the line-of-sight for commuters along this short stretch of Route 302.
To start off the work week, the Wyman & Simpson, Inc. crew removed the 15-foot-tall sheet piles from the Bay of Naples Bridge.
The sheet piles, which were driven into the ground last winter, shored up the dirt of the new roadway, but also created a minor visual obstacle for drivers pulling out of businesses on the southeast side of the bridge, according to a state transportation department official.
“I think it was a line-of-sight issue, but fortunately, people were careful when pulling out of the Causeway Marina parking lot,” said Craig Hurd, the project’s resident engineer with Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT.)
“I’m glad it was removed,” he said.
Today and Friday, it will be necessary to close one lane of traffic again. This time new curbs will be underfoot. Finishing sidewalks is the next step on the work list; and that job is slated for next week.
“There will be lane closures. When those guys are working there, we want to give them space,” Hurd said.
Local businesswoman, Elaine Merced, who operates Merced’s at Brandy Pond, said she was glad the sheet piles are gone. It will be easier for customers, employees and delivery drivers to pull into traffic from the nearby parking lot, she said.
“Plus, it was an eyesore. Now, the view is much better,” she said.
Naples Town Manager Derek Goodine said he envisions the bigger picture — bringing more visitors to this town.
“My thoughts are that the removal of the sheet piles is a sign things are beginning to wrap up. Soon, the sidewalks will be in place, and the bridge will be wider at that point,” Goodine said.
“That’s good because we are planning on thousands of cars coming through town for the Fryeburg Fair,” he said.
“The piles being gone, the new giant flag flying, and the Causeway looking great with the trees planted is going to catch a lot of new eyes,” Goodine said.
“It is going to capture a lot of attention from the fairgoers. Maybe, they will plan a trip to Naples next summer. Maybe, they will even come back to leaf peep in a few weeks,” he said.