Thursday, January 13, 2011

Charlotte, VT studies options to repair bridge

From Burlington Free Press:
A man fishes Lewis Creek under the Quinlan covered bridge in Charlotte. The town is studying options for repairing the bridge.

Vermont Agency of Transportation officials presented ideas at Monday’s Charlotte Selectboard meeting that they
hope will help resolve the dilemma presented by the deteriorating Quinlan covered bridge.

Repair of the 87-foot-long bridge spanning Lewis Creek must conform to Federal Highway Administration guidelines
and the Vermont Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Plan administered by Vermont’s Agency of Transportation.

The Burr Arch design bridge built in 1849 was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.

Three options exist for repair and preservation of the bridge, but a fourth might be on the horizon, transportation
representatives said at the meeting.

Mark Colgan of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. of North Ferrisburgh is a consulting engineer working with the state
on permitting, design and construction bidding. He described the three possibilities considered by the state Historic
Bridge Preservation Committee.

Option one, preferred by the committee, would be most in keeping with the state covered bridge program, Colgan
said. It would retain the steel girders installed in 1985, reinforce deteriorating bracing and connections and replace
the bridge’s top chord.

It would not, however, support use by a fully loaded town plow and sand truck, estimated to weigh 25 tons. School
buses at 17 tons and infrequently a fire truck would be allowed to cross it. The committee suggested another route
on U.S. 7 for the plow truck, operated by road commissioner Hugh “Junior” Lewis.

“Our hope was to allow Junior’s plow truck to use the bridge,” Selectboard Chairman Charles Russell said last week.
“We learned that the alternative we had hoped for would not be possible; it would mean significant changes to the
original bridge design.”

Nor would the other two contemplated options provide access for the plow truck.

Option two would remove the steel girders to return the bridge to its original configuration and add reinforcements to
many parts. It would be historically accurate, but would be limited to traffic weighing less than 5 tons. 
Read the full article here.

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