Casco Bay bridge operator positions open | News

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Casco Bay bridge operator positions open
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PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --

Bridge operator positions on the Casco Bay Bridge are now open through the Florida-based company which will take over operation of the bridge on March 1.

A Craigslist posting by Florida Drawbridges, Inc. says "no experience required." The part-time position pays $12 an hour. 

The Maine Department of Transportation's press secretary Ted Talbot said Monday that operators will go through two separate trainings: one through the state, involving three weeks of training and a written test; and another through FDI, involving another three weeks of training and another written test.

"By the time they are real operators of the bridge, they will have gone through several weeks of training," said Talbot. "They're going to have the experience required to operate it safely, both from the Maine DOT training perspective, and from the FDI training perspective."

About 33,000 cars pass over the bridge that connects Portland and South Portland, according to Talbot.

"We have a complete training program. You don't have to have experience operating a drawbridge," in an interview with the Portland Press Herald, said FDI CEO Laura Porter.

Talbot said contracting out the jobs brings those workers back into other public works projects. This is the first time the state has turned over bridge operations to a private firm. Maine DOT announced that it awarded the five-year, $3.8 million contract to operate the Casco Bay Bridge to FDI in December.

"We can rehabilitate bridges, reconstruct roads, do the types of things that DOT should be doing instead of opening and shutting a bridge," said Talbot.

Talbot said FDI plans to interview the current bridge operators for the positions. There are eight current operators employed by the state. Those who do not want the job, or do not earn the job, will receive assistance from Maine DOT trying to find jobs for them in other areas of DOT, the state government, or, if need be, the private sector, according to Talbot.

Talbot said state employees in 2014 made between $25,000 and $33,000 for the year for this position. Talbot said the state has a different benefits package than what FDI is offering. According to the Press Herald, FDI would pay more than the state did.

A Maine DOT and FDI supervisor will remain in the operations center.

"So this is not something we're going to just train them and walk away from. They're going to be heavily supervised for a very long time," said Talbot.

The state will maintain control of any heavy maintenance or structural work to the bridge.

 

NEWS CENTER reached out to FDI, but received no call back. 


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