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V.A.O.T. Historic Bridge Committee Proceedings

Historic Covered Bridge Committee Notes from meeting of November 26, 2001 for:

Creamery, Canyon, Williamsville, Upper Falls, Cooley Covered Bridges & Preservation Plan

Committee members in attendance:

  • J. B. McCarthy
  • David Hoyne
  • Warren Tripp
  • Bob McCullough
  • Scott Newman
  • Eric Gilbertson
  • Nancy Boone
  • Sue Scribner

Project Managers Roger Whitcomb and Gary Rogers, Scott Gurley and Joe Nelson from the Vermont Covered Bridge Society were also in attendance.

Brattleboro Creamery Bridge:

A new bridge will be built and the Creamery Bridge will be closed off to vehicular traffic, i.e. serving in an adaptive use capacity. The bridge will need some repairs and/ or replacement of members and this work will be part of the replacement bridge project, Brattleboro BRF 2000(21)S. It is envisioned that this will be a 2-year project. During the first year the new bridge will be built and during the second year the covered bridge will be rehabilitated. Scott Gurley questioned whether or not the project can be cleared under Section 106 or if he should wait until more detail is available on needed repairs.

Roger Whitcomb reported that he thinks the bottom chord will need to be replaced but any necessary replacement can be expected to be "in kind", i.e. same size as original members. He plans to follow the recommendations of McFarland-Johnson, Inc. as presented in the covered bridge report from 1995. Warren Tripp mentioned the new technology available for filling holes with epoxy materials and felt this might be a good place to experiment with this. Federal funding restrictions were discussed as well.

The committee feels that Section 106 can be cleared but would like an opportunity to comment on plans when more detail is available.

Cambridge Canyon Bridge:

The consultant for this rehabilitation, Tim Grant with McFarland-Johnson, Inc., had submitted an updated report to Project Manager Gary Rogers. The new items proposed are replacement of 2 end diagonals and an end post. The committee did not have any issues with these proposed replacements. Mr. Grant also proposed adding mortar to the east abutment. This created much discussion and it was questioned whether adding mortar could actually cause future damage to the substructure. Eric Gilbertson requested that a stone mason be hired to look at the substructure to see if it can instead be rechinked/ re-laid. It was also questioned whether geotextile material should be added to prevent loss of fines.

Project Manager Gary Rogers agreed to arrange for a stone mason to look at the substructure and will report back to committee members on the outcome.

Newfane Williamsville Bridge:

A committee member questioned the results of the last committee meeting for this bridge and the agreed-upon recommendations for rehabilitation. In particular, it was questioned whether or not glulam beams could be installed underneath the structure so that less replacement of members might be necessary.

Scott Newman offered to pursue this further on the basis of hydraulics and the grade of the bridge. Project Manager Roger Whitcomb has been, and will continue to, move forward as agreed to by the committee at the last meeting. Should Scott Newman feel it is appropriate after his investigations, he may request that the committee revisit the proposed treatments for this structure.

Weathersfield Upper Falls Bridge:

Roger Whitcomb has met with the town to start work on this project. The town is satisfied with the current load rating of the bridge. As a more detailed scope of the proposed rehabilitation work is developed, Roger will update the committee.

Pittsford Cooley Bridge:

National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program funds were received for this project, often referred to as "Jeffords' money". Sue Scribner has met with the town and they are satisfied with the current load rating of the bridge. We are in the process of procuring consultant services and hope to have a summary report of the present condition and proposed work for review by the committee in mid-February.

Preservation Plan:

The section describing the committee role was discussed and adjusted slightly. Working to have this signed-off on by the end of this calendar year.

[This article was originally posted February 13, 2002]

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