OSSIPEE, N.H., January 8, 2007 - The Whittier Covered Bridge, WGN 29-02-08, was closed last fall to all traffic by the board of selectmen out of concern that the span may fail.
The down-stream lower chord was found to be rotted due to a roof leak. A Paddleford Truss with auxiliary arches, the downstream truss is sustained mainly by the laminated arch.
A report to the selectmen last December stated that the bridge needs to be stabilized until funds are raised for long-term restoration. Stabilization is estimated to cost between $92,000 to $130,000. The cost of restoring the bridge is estimated to be from $763,000 to $850,000.
The Town is seeking funds for the repairs and has applied for a Land and Community Heritage Investment Program grant of $50,000. Federal funds may not be available until 2008.
The bridge may be stabilized by supporting it on steel I-beams or by removing the bridge from the river by cranes.
The 132-foot Whittier Bridge spans Bearcamp River at West Ossipee Village once serving old NH Route 125. The present bridge was built in the 1870s by Jacob Berry, the fourth bridge to serve this crossing since 1791.
The most recent restoration of the bridge was completed by Milton Graton and Sons of Ashland, N.H. in August, 1983 at a cost of $85,000, the funds coming from Gordon Pope and the state. The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic in the spring of 1989.
[Our thanks to Tom Keating for forwarding the article from which this report is gleaned.]