North Hartland - Saturday, October 13, 2001 - The as yet unnamed new covered bridge was officially opened to traffic after the ceremony. Nearly one-hundred spectators, mostly townspeople attended.
The new bridge joins the Willard Bridge in spanning the Ottauquechee River Dam causeway restoring the twosome interrupted by the 1938 hurricane. The lost covered bridge was replaced by a concrete and steel span. The two covered bridges are referred to as the North Hartland twin bridges.
Warren Tripp, retired chief of VAOT Structures was one of six who addressed the gathering. Mr. Tripp was in charge when the issue of repairing or replacing the causeway concrete bridge came up. Some of his remarks, paraphrased:
This bridge adds one to the number of covered bridges in Vermont--it is the only new covered bridge to replace a bridge of another type. In 1994, Tripp said, the Agency and the Town signed an agreement to repair the old bridge. In 1995, the Town asked why not replace the bridge with a covered bridge? The VAOT agreed that it could fund part of the cost of the covered bridge. The Town contacted Jan Lewandoski for the bridge and the State contracted for the abutments and the temporary bridge.
The new bridge uses the Town truss and is similar in construction to the Willard Bridge, which was built in 1919¹. Jan Lewandoski remarked that the trusses in his bridge are 16 feet high from bottom to top, v.s. the State's average 14 feet. He also noted that 16 of the 18 ship's knees used to brace the trusses were cut from the stumps of tamarack trees--two were cut from spruce. The bridge features a camber of seven inches, the truss members are 3" x 11" spruce timbers secured with 700 treenails, and the deck is constructed of oak and hickory.
1. Unconfirmed date used by the VAOT
Addressing the gathering are: Robert Stacey, Town Manager; Gordon Richardson, Legislature; Warren Tripp, VAOT retired; Hiram (?), former town manager; William Patnode, Alpine Construction, builder of the abutments; Jan Lewandoski, Restoration and Traditional Building, Inc., builder of the bridge.