OVER THE CROOKED RIVER History rings as Ryefield Bridge Reopens
By Jim Smedley, Staff Writer, Lewiston, ME Sun Journal November 21, 2002
Reprinted Here with permission of the Lewiston, ME Sun Journal

The historic Ryefield Bridge reopened Wednesday, November 20, 2002, with a gathering of two dozen history buffs, construction workers and town and state dignitaries attending the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

It cost $1,710 to build the bridge in 1912 and $480,891 to refurbish it in 2002.

The structure was looking as sharp as it ever did; it is perhaps sturdier than it ever was.

Paul Joyce, project manager from Bancroft Contracting Corp., Paris, said hemlock was used for deck timbers and spruce for the standard running boards. The bridge, which at one time had been painted green, was repainted in brick red — its original color.

David Hankins of the Otisfield Historical Society was master of ceremonies for the event. He noted the first bridge over the Crooked River was built in 1817.

“Three bridges had been built here, none of them very good,” Hankins said. “I think they are in Sebago Lake. Then it was decided in 1910 to build a steel bridge.”

The Crooked River separates two towns and two counties Harrison in Cumberland County and Otisfield in Oxford County.

The funding to refurbish the bridge came from state and federal governments because it was designated historic. State Sen. Richard Bennett noted that he and Rep. Ted Heidrich worked to get the Ryefield Bridge designated as one of only 14 historic bridges in the state, a distinction from the hundreds of other Maine bridges.

Don Rice, Department of Transportation resident supervisor for the project, said the only work left to do on the bridge is paint a few bolts and do some touch-up painting.

The project began June 28. On July 8 the bridge was removed using a crane and set on blocks on the Harrison side of the river. It was put back on Oct. 24.