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Town and Village

Town considers future of Salmon Brook Bridge

State: upgrade of 1930s-era bridge ‘long overdue’

DUMMERSTON—After the most recent inspection of the Salmon Brook Bridge, the Selectboard has decided to begin preparing for the span’s eventual replacement.

Road Foreman Lee Chamberlin told the board that the most recent report from the state Agency of Transportation, which inspects all town bridges every two years, said the “entire guardrail system” for the bridge on East-West Road “is long overdue for upgrading with standard rail materials,” though, he noted, the guard rails are “not falling off.”

In addition, the bridge’s fascia beams and the steel superstructure are rusty. The report recommends “extensive cleaning and painting.”

The report gave the bridge’s deck, superstructure, and substructure “good” or “satisfactory” ratings, and Chamberlin said “we send trucks over that bridge every day.”

Selectboard Chair Zeke Goodband said that, rather than repair the circa-1935 bridge, “it [makes] more sense to replace it.”

“We’re applying to the state” for “90 percent of the funding” for the project, which will involve detours and possibly straightening out the “sharp downhill approach,” Goodband said.

This summer, Chamberlin said, the Windham Regional Commission will perform a traffic count near the bridge.

He said he considers this project a “15-year plan,” and the town is in the earliest stages of the project.

Although Chamberlin said the bridge did not make it on the list of “the eight worst bridges in the county,” he deemed it “the first bridge that needs replacing” in the town.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #306 (Wednesday, May 20, 2015). This story appeared on page C1.

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