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Blue Hill says goodbye to historic Falls Bridge

The nearly 100-year-old bridge will be demolished and replaced with a new bridge.

BLUE HILL, Maine — The Blue Hill community is saying goodbye to a historic landmark after a decision was made earlier this year to demolish and replace Falls Bridge

Discussion about whether to restore or demolish the nearly 100-year-old bridge has been going on since 2016, with a decision landing earlier this year. 

Construction company Cianbro Corporation will work to create the new bridge and has already started installing a temporary detour bridge. Demolition will happen around December. Construction on the new, permanent bridge will run through this time next year. 

Resident engineer John Knowles said there have been no major delays thus far for the project.

"This bridge is very iconic; it's very important for a lot of people in this area," Knowles explained. "This is the right way to go to make sure we're providing safe transportation for the community."

According to Knowles, granite pieces of the original bridge will be incorporated into the new one to honor the beloved landmark.

According to the Blue Hill Historical Society, early talk of a bridge started in the mid-1800s. European settlements were isolated from the rest of the center of town, forcing citizens to cross the tide in dangerous conditions known as the "Fore Falls." Many versions of a bridge came before the iconic stone structure that stands today.

"The bridge's history is full of times where they had to remake it and rebuild it, start from scratch, and reevaluate what's the best approach for this very dangerous area," Brittney Courtot, vice president of the Blue Hill Historical Society, said.

Research has also shown a burial ground on Mill Island, indicating an indigenous presence almost 4,000 years before European settlers arrived. 

Courtot said that when preservation isn't an option, history can still live on through teaching and discussion. 

"What did it bring to the table? What was its story?" Courtot said. "Trying to honor that the best way that you can; I think that's the best outcome."

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