May 21, 2005 - The Comstock Covered Bridge has been closed by Connecticut's Department of Transportation due to concerns about structural problems.
The DOT determined to close the bridge in April to all pedestrian traffic.
Town Manager Alan Bergren said a number of issues have been raised with regard to the closing of the bridge. One of these is the question of funding for repairs. DOT officials have not as yet established a bridge repair plan and state funding to make the improvements is in doubt. Town funds may have to be used, he said.
The Comstock Bridge is one of three covered bridges remaining in Connecticut. The bridge is remarkable among eastern covered bridges in that the eastern section, unroofed, is a wooden pony truss.
Until the bridge was closed it had served pedestrian traffic crossing the Salmon River. It spans 80 feet, connecting East Hampton and Colchester.
Built in 1873 using the Howe Truss, it was constructed to link Colchester and Middletown, now it is part of the Salmon River State Forest.
In the 1930s the bridge underwent the first in a series of renovations. General repairs were made to the structure and wooden gates and new siding were added. The bridge was renovated again in the 1970s with steel gusset plates to reinforce the original wooden joints. The bridge was also added to the National Register of Historic Places and it officially became a part of the state forest. Lights were added in the 1990s.
In 2003, the whole structure was lifted and the steel plates were replaced with historically accurate wooden supports, this with federal funds.
[Many thanks to Kathleen Havranek for sharing the news clipping on which this item was based - Ed.]