Maine Bridge Lost During Irene Had Design Defect

Fri September 23, 2011 - Northeast Edition

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine (AP) A bridge that collapsed as Tropical Storm Irene pummeled Maine had a design flaw that made it more likely to fail in severe weather.

Engineers were aware of the defect in the 53-year-old bridge in Carrabassett Valley and it had been scheduled for repair within the next year.

Department of Transportation Engineer John Buxton said a study of the failure may help prevent future failures because 129 state owned bridges have similar design flaws.

The Morning Sentinel said the flaw led to support beams becoming unstable because of soil erosion during severe storms.

The bridge that collapsed was one of two bridges on Route 27 that crumbled on Aug. 28.

The National Weather Service said about 8.5 in. of rain fell in the area on Aug. 28.