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Joyce Endee

NCS crew strengthens utility-carrying RR bridge

September 14, 2011
BERLIN — Efforts to make Gorham Paper & Tissue, LLC, that was purchased on May 13 by Lynn Tilton of Patriarch Partners, more energy efficient are well underway.

Last week, a five-man crew from Nordic Construction Services, LLC, of Berlin completed strengthening the abandoned 300-foot-long railroad bridge over the Androscoggin River, readying it to carry the weight of two gas lines: one for natural gas from the Portland Natural Gas Transmission System (PNGTS), and the other methane gas from the Mt. Carberry landfill.

Other utilities, including water and electric lines, already cross the Androscoggin on this bridge, located below the Cross Power Station.

The men have spent three weeks working on, under, and around the historic skewed, two-span pin-connected Whipple through truss bridge. While on the job, the workers all wear reflective vests, hard hats, safety glasses, and personal flotation devices (PFDs).

The bridge, now owned by Gorham Paper & Tissue (GPT), was likely built in 1875 and then later moved to its current location when the Cascades paper mill was built in 1903 some 2,700 feet downstream.

As they broke up from their lunch break on Wednesday, crew members joked around a little with one another about the day they had to take up the challenge of replacing a U-bolt under the bridge as it rocked back and forth in the wind.

GPT representatives testified this summer in front of the state Site Evaluation Committee (SEC) that it was essential to the mill's profitability that the natural gas project be completed by Sept. 26.

Martin Lord & Osman
Salmon Press
Varney Smith
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