Town to renovate Fish River trestle
FORT KENT, Maine — An old railroad trestle which outdoor enthusiasts rely on to get them across the Fish River will soon undergo a safety makeover.
The trestle was constructed in the 1950s and connects the Heritage Trail across the Fish River. Walkers, snowmobilers, bicyclists and ATV riders use the trestle which is located between the Market Street entry to the trail and Fort Kent Elementary School.
All of the wooden support timbers and metal stringers making up the framework of the trestle are original, according to Fort Kent Director of Planning and Economic Development Steve Pelletier. The trestle was last updated 15 years ago with a metal fencing system and wooden top deck.
Last year, Pelletier applied for and received a state Bureau of Parks and Lands Recreational Trail Development Grant in the amount of $65,000 to renovate the trestle.
The town plans to replace all of the wooden elements of the trestle with the grant money.
“The most important factor in replacing the support timbers and decking is for safety. The timbers are rotting more each year so it is imperative to replace them for the protection of the trail groomer, snowmobiles, ATV’s and pedestrians,” Pelletier said. “This bridge is also the only designated trail access for recreational vehicles to cross Fish River so its maintenance is very important.”
The town received two bids on the project and Pelletier will put those before town councilors at the next town council meeting on Monday.
Pelletier said he would like for the renovation to begin just after snowmobiling season ends, which is usually around April 15. This way workers will have the bridge to themselves prior to the beginning of ATV season.
It will take about three weeks to complete the project once construction begins, Pelletier said.