Maine Contractor Likely to Get Bridge Contract

Thu April 01, 2004 - National Edition

SWANTON, ME (AP) A Maine firm seems poised to win the contract to rebuild the Missisquoi Bay Bridge between Swanton and Alburg.

Cianbro Corporation, of Pittsfield, ME, submitted the lowest bid for the project at $32.2 million. The company was one of four contractors that submitted bids for the project, which is set to begin in May.

The bids ranged from Cianbro’s figure to more than $42 million by a Colorado company.

“We’re very pleased with the numbers. We think it’s a good, competitive number,” said David Scott of the Vermont Agency of Transportation.

Cianbro’s bid must be vetted by state transportation analysts before it wins state and federal approval.

The bridge will be 3,600 ft. long, the largest span entirely within Vermont.

Construction work is expected to last into 2007, but traffic could start crossing the bridge in 2006.

The state Agency of Natural Resources has required construction to take place between May 1 and Oct. 31 so workers will not disturb the Eastern spiny soft-shelled turtles that use the bridge’s causeway as a basking and wintering site.

The turtles are a threatened species in the state.

The state has decided to leave most of the causeway in place as a new bridge is built because the turtles use it as habitat. The decision has been criticized from residents of northern Lake Champlain, who said the causeway adds to the bay’s water quality problems.

They argue the causeway prevents the natural flow of the lake into the bay, an area that last summer was plagued with toxic algae blooms.