LYNDON — The Northern Borders Regional Commission is taking public comment on proposed renovations to the Sanborn Covered Bridge.
Under the proposed $2.2 million project, the bridge would be completely overhauled and elevated above the 100-year floodplain.
NBRC scheduled the public comment period to comply with federal guidelines for development in a Special Flood Hazard Area and will accept comments at email@example.com through the end of the day on Nov. 7.
The public comment period is a condition of NBRC’s $350,000 grant award to the project.
Earlier this month, project manager Bob Durfee, of design firm Dubois & King, presented a project update to the Select Board on Oct. 16.
He recommended a complete “superstructure rehabilitation” for the 150-year-old Sanborn Covered Bridge, one of just two Paddleford Truss Bridges in Vermont.
The proposed work is extensive.
Rotted or broken deck framing, deck planking, timber trusses, siding, and the corrugated metal roof would be removed and replaced.
In addition, the bridge would be repainted and fitted with lighting and fire protection, and the stone abutments would be replaced with new concrete abutments.
Durfee gave a two-year timeline ending between Oct. 2025 and Jan. 2026.
The town has raised, appropriated or secured $1.87 million in project funding, representing 85 percent of the current cost estimate.
The cost estimate will be revised during the final design phase, once the Select Board decides which recommendations to follow and sets final project parameters.
The project will require federal, state and local permit approvals.
The Sanborn Covered Bridge was originally constructed on Centre Street in 1869, was moved to its present location in 1960, and was purchased by the town in 2022.
The town also acquired a two-acre property at the south abutment, the future site of Sanborn Covered Bridge Park, and a 25-foot right of way connecting to Route 122 at the north abutment.
Responding to questions, Durfee said plans to change the roof — from corrugated metal to standing seam metal — would not impact the bridge’s historical value.
That’s because neither is historically accurate, he said.
According to Durfee, the bridge originally had a wood shingle roof, and corrugated metal roofs did not appear on covered bridges until the 1890s.
Asked if the bridge’s original wood shingle roof could be restored as part of the project, Durfee said it would be cost-prohibitive and require far more maintenance.
“The cost [to install a wood shingle roof] is probably two to three times what a standing seam metal roof [costs] and [wood shingle roofs] only have a service life of 20 years,” Durfee said.
Editors note: Information reprinted with permission from the Caledonian Record Publishing Company, Inc.