vcbs header image

Thetford's Sayre's Bridge Open, but . . .

Google map of Vermont with seal


Thetford, October 10, 2007 - After a $814,000 rehabilitation, the Sayre's covered bridge [VT-09-06] on Tucker Hill Road was opened to traffic in September, as scheduled. The tremendously long detour imposed by the work had distanced the community from essential services for five long month's.

But all is not happy in Thetford: Residents site safety problems for pedestrians. A public meeting held Monday night, October 10, suggested the installation of lighting, painting a pedestrian zone within the bridge, cutting windows into the side of the bridge, cantilevering a walkway on the side of the bridge, and putting a traffic slowing circle on one side of the bridge.

VTRANS nixed solutions involving changes to the bridge itself because funding was given under the guidelines for the preservation of historical sites. The original bridge did not have windows or a pedestrian walkway and adding them would be "altering the structure," VTRANS said.

The Thetford Selectboard will continue to study the problem and consult on what changes can be made. Meanwhile, the public are asked to observe the stop signs standing on each end of the bridge. The Thetford police are enforcing traffic laws there.

Sayre's Bridge, 134-feet long, was built c1839 to cross the Ompompanoosuc River in one span using what has been called a Haupt truss with arch. The mid-stream pier was added in 1963.

The waterpower provided by the river in this place once served eight sawmills, four gristmills, a straw-board and paper mill, two flannel factories, a carriage shop and bedstead factory, an edge tool and trip-hammer works, and the Sayre Brothers furniture mill.

Oh, and many many of the original trunnel holes were drilled right at the edge of a member. Many actually split members. Bad design! For historical sake we're supposed to duplicate those structural errors? Not a good idea. Now we have saved timbers with holes drilled right out the edge or bottom which do nothing but weaken the member.

We're halfway finished replacing lattice members. Bottom chord members follow as we get to themn. Progress is good and weather is as usual in a Vermont winter. We're bundled up and working.

For more on Sayre's Bridge see Thetford.htm.

Also see Thetford's Sayre's Bridge Rehab Underway

HTML5 logo