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Williamsville Covered Bridge Plans¹

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Newfane - July 18, 2001 - The VTrans Historic Covered Bridge Committee met with the Newfane Selectboard in a follow-up to the meeting held on June 28. Committee members attending were: David Hoyne, Warren Tripp, Eric Gilbertson, Scott Gurley and Sue Scribner. Project Manager Roger Whitcomb and Project Engineer Todd Sumner were also in attendance. John Weaver represented the Vermont Covered Bridge Society.

The Town's position was that they were looking for either a rehabilitation of the historic covered bridge or a new covered bridge, but they were not interested in any rehabilitation that kept the glulam beams currently in place. Three different options were discussed;

  1. Remove the 8' high glulam beams currently in place, perform necessary repairs of members, and then use glulam beams underneath the structure as a supplemental system.
  2. Repair the historic bridge, recognizing that a large percentage of the members will need to be replaced.
  3. Construct a new covered bridge on the same location.

The town will support any of the options as long as the finished product is aesthetically pleasing. In discussing on the present condition of the bridge, all agreed it is in very poor condition. All the lattices have been spliced. It was questioned whether the dead load can be reduced enough to allow some members to either be saved or replaced with same size members.

Because of the present condition of the bridge and the traffic it carries, this may be a good place to experiment with an Fiber Reinforced Plastic (FRP) floor system. This may allow the top chord and some other members to be retained and repaired and any replacement of members to be of the same size as the originals.

The committee is in favor of the second option. Project Manager Whitcomb will investigate the use of an experimental floor system with the goal being to retain as many members as possible and replace any necessary ones with members of the same size.

1. This article is based on Historic Covered Bridge Committee Notes from the meeting of July 18, 2001 for the Williamsville Covered Bridge, Newfane.

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