Locally known as the Green Bridge, the 1932 steel-trussed bridge that spans the Androscoggin River between Topsham and Brunswick is rusting and its green paint is peeling. More worryingly, the bridge’s floor system is failing, its crossbeams are deteriorated, and the sidewalk supports have corroded. Maine’s Department of Transportation is set on replacing it with something sturdier.
But this plan is upsetting a group of locals who want to preserve what they consider to be a beautiful and historical landmark. “…[The bridge’s] rusty steel trusses echo a time when the mills on either side still churned out paper and textiles. Photographers love how it frames sunsets and how, at night, electric light glints off the water below. Its profile adorned the local phone book last year,” senior Carly Berlin writes for Down East magazine.
As Berlin investigated this conflict, she found that across Maine, it’s not uncommon for people living in small towns to get attached to their local bridges, and to resist their replacement.
She originally wrote the article for an assignment in Russ Rymer’s spring writing course, Art of Writing about Science. She adapted it for Down East with the help of Will Grunewald ’10, who is an associate editor at the magazine.