August 22, 2022 - The Union Village Covered Bridge was damaged. The following article has been republished below with permission from the Valley News.
THETFORD — One of Thetford’s two covered bridges was damaged by a hit-and-run driver Monday afternoon, causing the bridge to be closed for about three hours.
The Union Village Covered Bridge on Academy Road. which spans the Ompompanoosuc River, was struck a little before 1 p.m.
Thetford Police Chief Michael Scruggs said the bridge was immediately closed to traffic until an engineer with a bridge repair company the town had used before was able to determine it was safe to reopen.
Scruggs said the vehicle, which did not remain at the scene, would have a box or squarish type load, like a box truck, RV, or similar.
The bridge has a clearance of 10 feet, 6 inches, and the road is marked at both ends warning drivers, Scruggs said.
The vehicle cleared as it entered the bridge, but about 20 to 30 feet in, began hitting cross braces on both sides, he said.
One brace was destroyed and two more were severely damaged, Scruggs said.
A local resident reported the crash.
Several people were interviewed at the scene and some information was given that leads Scruggs to believe there is more information out there.
“I’m hopeful someone has a photo or video of the event,” Scruggs said.
He said many times the drivers who leave don’t get caught.
In January, a tractor trailer pulling a flatbed with a tall structure on the bed damaged the Sayre Bridge on Tucker Hill Road in Thetford. Despite photos of the truck, the driver was never found.
Scruggs said there was not enough evidence left at the scene to give him too much to go on in this case.
He said if caught the driver could potentially face a couple of charges depending on the details.
“Ultimately, the driver could be looking at leaving the scene of an accident with property damage,” Scruggs said. “And a Village ordinance or oversize load limit ticket.”
The Union Village Covered Bridge was originally built in 1867, according to the Vermont Covered Bridge Society. It is 111 feet in length and 19 feet wide.
It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on Sept. 17, 1974 and underwent renovation in 2002. As part of its declaration the statement of significance points out that the Union Village Covered Bridge is the “longest bridge supported by multiple kingpost trusses to survive in Vermont.”
Anyone with information about this crash is asked to contact Scruggs at email@example.com or 802-785-2200.
Darren Marcy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3216.
Editors note: Our thanks to Valley News editor Jim Kenyon for granting permission to republish this article.