Morse Bridge - Rumford MaineMorse Bridge over the Androscoggin River
The Morse Bridge is a 285 foot steel through arch bridge over the Androscoggin River on ME 108 Bridge Street in Rumford. Although constructed by the city and state in 1935, a year later in March 1936, was moved off its foundation by the results of a 500 year flood. A 1936 State Highway Commission Annual Report lists 26 bridges that were U.S. Works Program Flood Relief projects and were handled under the jurisdiction of the Bureau of Public Roads, U.S. Department of Agriculture. A sizable concrete retaining wall and riverbed cover flanks the bridge on the downtown island along River Street. A W.P.A. 1936 stamp is visible both on the river side and street side. The condition of the concrete looks poor with considerable flaking and cracking visible all along the wall.
“The March 1936 flood was one of the most destructive, resulting in the loss or damage of an estimated 150 bridges in Maine, believed to be the hardest hit of the New England states due to the force of the flood and crest of the ice pack on the Saco, Androscoggin, Kennebec, and Penobscot rivers. Assistance to the affected states in repairing and replacing bridges was given by the PWA through the U.S. Works Program Flood Replacement Project. The project totaled about $2.5 million of which about half was distributed to Maine.
Reconstruction or replacement of the flood-lost bridges was handled as a joint effort by the PWA and the state highway commission. In general, the smaller bridges were built by the WPA using its labor forces directed by regional and county administrators, and the larger bridges were handled like ordinary federal aid projects with the design and construction supervised by the state highway commission under the direction of the BPR with the PWA merely acting as a fiscal agent.”
Historic Bridges of Maine: 350 Years of Bridge and Roadway Design
Maine DOT Historic Bridge Survey, Phase II Final Report & Historic Context. 2004
Project originally submitted by Andrew Laverdiere on August 2, 2021.
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