Greenwood considers options for Johnny's Bridge
Posted June 24-The load limit on Johnny’s Bridge in Greenwood has dropped from 20 tons to 10, as selectmen ponder what to do with the 1926 concrete structure.
A recent state inspection report described the bridge’s condition as “poor” and recommended the problems be addressed “as soon as practical to ensure safe use of the bridge.”
The bridge carries local traffic between the Gore Road and Route 26.
It also allows small boats to pass under it on their way between the Alder River and North Pond.
The Maine Department of Transportation engineering report described the concrete as deteriorating, with metal rebar visible. A temporary bridge rail replacement is “substandard,” and approach guardrail is also needed, the report said.
Options include fixing the current bridge, replacing it with another bridge, or replacing it with a culvert, Town Manager Kim Sparks said Monday.
A cost assessment for the options is underway, she said.
What boat clearance?
Whatever the choice, the clearance beneath could be a topic of discussion among boaters.
Blaine Mills of the Greenwood Historical Society said the current clearance is either just right or too low, depending on the boating viewpoint.
The low clearance (canoeists and kayakers may have to duck, depending on water levels) is preferred by many North Pond camp residents, he said.
For them, he said, the small opening prevents large boats from coming onto the pond.
But those with larger boats “have always wanted to blow [the bridge] up,” he said.
Nearby, next to Route 26, a large culvert carrying the Alder River under the Howe Hill Road allows larger boats to pass, Mills said.
Asked if the current concrete bridge holds historical value, Mills said, “I don’t think it’s a big deal.”
The bridge was preceded by several wooden bridges, beginning in the 1830s, he said.
The name “Johnny’s Bridge” likely originated from John Estes, the first settler to live nearby, said Mills.