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Plans made for Weathersfield's Upper Falls Covered Bridge

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Town of Weathersfield, Vt. - The Select Board for the Town of Weathersfield held a public hearing to invite public comment and discussion of issues regarding the restoration of the Upper Falls Covered Bridge on Tuesday, November 6, 2001, at 7:00 p.m., at the Weathersfield Elementary School on Route 106 in Perkinsville, Vermont.

Among the issues discussed were the proposed closure of the covered bridge during the restoration project, weight limitations after the restoration, and other project parameters.

The meeting was attended by the Town Manager, the Selectboard, Salmond Covered Bridge Committee, Windsor County Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC), highway foreman, Police chief, fire department, VAOT Project Manager Roger Whitcomb, VCBS Bridge-watch Chair Neil Daniels and concerned residents.

The Covered Bridge structure is BR66 on Town Highway 20, Project number BHO 1442(29). Consensus of participants of the November 6 meeting estimated the total cost to be near $450,000. The earliest date for construction to begin is 2003 according to Whitcomb, if there are no issues concerning the Right-of-way for the temporary bridge needed while construction is in progress. The meeting determined that the temporary bridge will not be needed, said Daniels.

At the Selectboard meeting held November 19, The town manager proposed to establish a 24,000-pound design load on the bridge. Neil Daniels, South Windsor County Transportation committee "TAC" appointee and VCBS Bridge-watch chair, had been invited and given an opportunity to speak to the issue. Daniels convinced the Selectboard to adopt a 12,000-pound design load and plan to close the bridge for reconstruction. This should set in motion the federal funding request and engineering, Daniels said.

The 12,000 pound design load plan will allow most chord, lattice and floor beam members to remain, said Daniels.

The last major work was done in 1973 adding a fifth lower-lower chord member inside. New structural work will be to eliminate decayed sections of chord and lattice members and remove fifth chord.

[Editor's note: The Downers, or Upper Falls Bridge is listed in the World Guide as 45-14-08]

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