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Town and Village

Town considers covered bridge alternatives

GUILFORD—As the Selectboard works toward resolving how to repair the Green River covered bridge, members decided to consider an alternative.

In October 2014, the board opted to explore what it calls “Alternative A,” which consists of another bridge built to the north of the current covered bridge.

Because the current proposal for repairing the covered bridge includes a load limit of eight tons — which precludes some emergency vehicles from using it — the Selectboard agreed to explore alternatives.

Sean James, of the consulting engineering firm Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, visited the Selectboard at its Aug. 10 regular meeting to explain what will happen next with Alternative A.

Rather than have the town put money into simply choosing Alternative A, James’s firm can incrementally analyze the plans and report to the Selectboard at various stages.

Board Chair Anne Rider likened the process to “one of those Choose-Your-Own Adventure books.” The town may abandon Alternative A after the first phase.

James recommended the board create a steering committee, go on a site walk, talk to the three neighboring landowners, and look at environmental issues in more detail. After that, the next phase might include a set of high-resolution aerial photographs — photogrammetry — for surveying the land.

Because those photos will cost approximately $30,000, board member Dick Clark recommended speaking with the neighboring landowners first, because they might not want to sell the town their land in order to build the Alternative A bridge.

“I like the idea of this stepped proposal,” Rider said. “If we do that [site] walk... and we talk to the landowners, we might say there are too many obstacles,” she added.

The Selectboard unanimously agreed to have Sean James and Hoyle, Tanner & Associates move forward with the proposal for a phased study of Alternative A.

Regardless of which design the Selectboard chooses for replacing or repairing the Green River Covered Bridge, the town will send out a request for proposals in early January, with the anticipation of construction beginning on May 23, 2016.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #321 (Wednesday, September 2, 2015). This story appeared on page C1.

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