4 votes

Charles Dana Bridge


Photo taken by Brian McKee in May 2010


BH Photo #171381

Street View 


Eastbound crossing, Charles Dana Bridge


Parker through truss bridge over Connecticut River on NH 119 in Hinsdale
Hinsdale, Cheshire County, New Hampshire
Open to traffic
Future prospects
To be preserved for pedestrian use.
Built 1920 by Boston Bridge Works; rehabilitated 1988
- Boston Bridge Works of Boston, Massachusetts
Parker through truss
Length of largest span: 200.1 ft.
Total length: 296.9 ft.
Deck width: 20.3 ft.
Approximate latitude, longitude
+42.85080, -72.55037   (decimal degrees)
42°51'03" N, 72°33'01" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
18/700152/4747157 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Average daily traffic (as of 2017)
Inventory number
BH 24838 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of June 2018)
Overall condition: Poor
Superstructure condition rating: Poor (4 out of 9)
Substructure condition rating: Fair (5 out of 9)
Deck condition rating: Good (7 out of 9)
Sufficiency rating: 37 (out of 100)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • April 17, 2022: New photos from Patrick Gurwell
  • May 22, 2017: New video from Michael Quiet
  • February 20, 2014: Added by Jack Schmidt
  • September 5, 2013: Updated by Dave King: Fixed name
  • May 21, 2013: Updated by Nathan Holth: At risk for demolition and replacement.
  • July 31, 2010: New Street View added by Cliff Darby
  • July 31, 2010: New photos from Brian McKee


  • Brian McKee - bjmckee51 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Cliff Darby - cliffsta1987 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Nathan Holth
  • Dave King - DKinghawkfan [at] hotmail [dot] com
  • Jack Schmidt - jjturtle [at] earthlink [dot] net
  • Michael Quiet - mquiet [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Patrick Gurwell - pgurwell [at] gmail [dot] com


Charles Dana Bridge
Posted April 17, 2022, by Patrick Gurwell (pgurwell [at] gmail [dot] com)

New bridge is definitely in process. Abutment on NH side is pretty far along.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted December 21, 2019, by Steve Lindsey (stevelindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Project moving head with funding for new bridge, but also funds for existing heritage spans too.

End near for 'Malfunction Junction' in Hinsdale and Brattleboro?

By JAKE LAHUT Sentinel Staff Dec 21, 2019 Updated 6 hrs ago

Bridging the funding gap

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, left, walks through the snow Friday with N.H. Transportation Commissioner Victoria Sheehan and DOT Director of Operations David Rodrigue after viewing the Hinsdale Route 119 bridges connecting Brattleboro.

HINSDALE — After years of waiting, a new bridge connecting Hinsdale and Brattleboro has a secure funding source and a tentative construction plan to start within the next two years.

The $50 million project got a boost recently when U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H., announced a new $12 million grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation.

New Hampshire had applied for federal funding for the Hinsdale-Brattleboro bridge a few times before, but came up short, according to N.H. Department of Transportation Commissioner Victoria Sheehan.

Sheehan said the federal grant will prove highly consequential in the long-desired project getting over the finish line.

Otherwise, the whole cost would have had to be covered by bonds, tying up more department funds for interest payments, she said.

The plan is for the Granite and Green Mountain States to split the remaining costs between their transportation departments 83-17, respectively — since the Connecticut River is technically owned by New Hampshire — through bonds. The interest on those bonds will be covered by the regular federal funding both agencies get annually, Sheehan said.

Ideally, according to Sheehan and her assistant commissioner, Bill Cass, construction will begin in 2021, mostly focusing on the foundation in the riverbed. For the 2022 construction season, the steel girders and other parts of the bridge would be erected, with the goal of opening the new bridge — which is farther south of the current crossing — for traffic by the end of that year.

The biggest risk for potential delays, according to Sheehan and Cass, lies in the 13 properties on the Brattleboro side in the new bridge’s footprint. They said the Vermont Agency of Transportation is working on getting the right of way for each of them, but added Vermont’s right-of-way process is “more cumbersome” than New Hampshire’s, with a lengthy eminent domain battle in the courts — while unlikely — being the worst-case scenario.

Sen. Shaheen, a Democrat and former N.H. governor from 1997 to 2003, described the federal grant as a “down payment” on the project when meeting with local leaders late Friday afternoon in Hinsdale.

Shaheen examined the current bridges’ situation with N.H. DOT staff Friday. About half of Hinsdale residents drive over the two bridges connected by an island to get to work across the Connecticut River in Vermont, according to J.B. Mack, the principal planner for the Southwest Region Planning Commission.

The rickety, red-listed double truss bridges have raised concerns for years, and drivers can experience an average wait of 20 minutes during rush hour when there are train crossings on the Brattleboro side.

Once the frigid on-site visit wrapped up, Shaheen made her way over to the Hinsdale Police Department headquarters for a roundtable discussion on the new bridge, with the latest renderings on display.

As she took out her notebook and asked everyone to introduce themselves, Edwin “Smokey” Smith of Hinsdale quipped that he had been at meetings like these for Hinsdale-Brattleboro bridge committees since 1986.

Smith, a Republican state representative for seven terms who now volunteers on various boards, recalled working on the bridge issue and economic development in southwestern New Hampshire with Shaheen when they were both at the Statehouse in the 1990s, initially in her tenure as a state senator and later from Concord’s corner office.

“As Ed knows, some of those same challenges existed when I was governor,” the U.S. senator said.

Several of those gathered around the table described Hinsdale as part of the “forgotten corner” of New Hampshire, a longstanding moniker in the political topography of the Monadnock Region.


Mack described how the new bridge could improve the local economy beyond cutting down on traffic wait times for rail crossings.

“Hinsdale and Winchester ... are some of the most economically challenged communities in the state and Cheshire County,” Mack told Shaheen. “So we’ve been really looking forward to this for a long time to bring in new business opportunities and investment opportunities.”

Key to those goals is a plan to rehabilitate the existing double truss bridges to accommodate pedestrians and emergency vehicles, Mack said. Preserving the bridges flanking Hinsdale Island is included in the grant Shaheen announced last month.

Cyclists and hikers would be able to cross the river with ease, and tourists coming up from New York City or down from Montreal could access the potential island park from the nearby Amtrak station, according to Sue Fillion, Brattleboro’s planning services director.

Hiking paths leading to the Pisgah and Monadnock State Parks would also be made more accessible to Brattleboro with the revamped bridges, officials said.

Even for a cynic like Smith, who lamented decades of false promises over a new bridge — which he claims date back to the last hand-drawn bridge markup done by N.H. DOT — the federal grant brings high hopes for the end of what’s become known as “Malfunction Junction,” he said.

“I love the term,” Shaheen chuckled when Smith brought up the congestion during rail crossings toward the end of the roundtable meeting.

“I mean, only because I don’t have to sit in it every day.”

Jake Lahut can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1435, or jlahut@keenesentinel.com. You can follow him on Twitter @JakeLahut.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted May 17, 2014, by Steven W Lindsey (SteveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Wood plank sidewalk replaced on this bridge.

See: http://www.reformer.com/News/ci_25733632/HinsdaletoBrattlebo...

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted October 8, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

It is not over with yet by a long way.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted October 8, 2013, by Bridge Police (rentacop [at] lightspeed [dot] com)

Sorry to hear they let you go.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted October 8, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)


Note: the state prosecutor was a long time retired Hinsdale NH(my town) police officer.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted October 8, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Monday I returned to "court" and effectively the judge said I did no wrong doing. It was bad prosecutor instructions and communications.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted October 8, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

The Hinsdale Police last Friday came to my house to arrest me....engineer a weekend stay for me in jail. It came from court confusion on my arraignment and the judge issuing me a warrant for my arrest because the prosecutor said I didn’t complete certain portions of the process. Monday I returned to jail and effectively the judge said I did no wrong doing. It was bad prosecutor instructions and communications.

On Friday at 1pm I got the court to withdraw the arrest warrant pending a Monday appearance. I caught this mistake utterly by chance.

Friday night two police officers appeared at my house at 8 pm to arrest me. They were keying off a rescinded court bench arrest order. The senior police officer said this was utterly shocking...he never seen an attempt to arrest somebody with such bad or totally missing foundational paperwork in all his career.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted October 1, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Shoot! Forgot to add that... Thanks Steve. I had to inquire about this and got some interesting facts from the people I talked to, some of which was used in the article.... :-)

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted October 1, 2013, by Steven W Lindsey (SteveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Issue of vibration discussed by Jason at Bridge Hunter Chronicles... See: http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2013/09/30/bridge-vibr...

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 21, 2013, by The Nonsense Police (whocares [at] aol [dot] com)

It would be awesome if you two would just email one another and quit clogging up the forum with this rubbish!

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 21, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

“But when a few of us mentioned this was a historic civil engineering structure that powered the nearby Holman and Merriman Machine Shop, she cancelled.”

I mis-spelled McGoldrick Dam with McCormick in the NRC document...

Just so you know, Shaheen “was at” the Hinsdale 2001 dam destruction ceremony. I spent much time with her after getting by her burley state police women protection person. I showed her plumes of grayest pollution from my camera that I secretly recorded. The NHDES just gave the polluting paper mill two miles upstream of this ceremony a good bill of health and all of the top NHDES senior officials were there in Hinsdale NH. The officials were all congregating around me asking to let us see your video…questioning me after I spoke to the governor. I left no doubt, since she’d seen the videos, she would be held accountable.

The destruction of the dam serve no bona-fides or other purposes than to get free money from the state of NH and the feds…no other reason than to show phony environmental media campaign public relation spots.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 21, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)


This below comes from an Aug 2001 Nuclear Regulatory Commission Document in which I am memorializing my issues with the NHDES. I am basically saying the NH Department of Environmental Services, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and the NH Department of Transportation all look exactly alike. I can’t tell one from another.

March of 2002 is when they had that near miss with Davis Bessee…

“Anyway the real reason why I'm writing is because I got another video of the Ashuelot River. I remember talking with one of your officials(NHDES) at the McCormick dam (Hinsdale, NH) with Gov. Shaheen in explaining the continuing run-off of the Lagoons: that the orange stuff we see is really just natural stuff and safe.”

So I am trying to get around the ineffective NHDES by showing Gov Shaheen plumes of pollution emanating from a local paper mill. I want her to get the Attorney General to investigate it...I am manipulating a Governor. I instigated it all from the getgo...it was a $600 million dollar fraud case and I put three or four executive in jail for a long time.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 21, 2013, by Steven W Lindsey (SteveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

See? This is how it works.

For a template on how this works out, visit the Concord Monitor webpage (now entirely free,) search it for "Sewalls Falls" and you can trace how the project to save the Sewalls Falls bridge with a replica along side, was converted to "replacement" with a modern span. Go back three or four years and read the Monitor articles, editorials and letters-to-the-editor and witness how the preservationists were defeated.

We may have sold your aggressive activism short here. You may have frightened the NHDOT, even through it seems you were discredited seemly before the public. You may pull this off after all, with Shaheen and Kuster coming in later, as inevitably they will, when it is safe to do so.

Nothing like an "emergency" to get the voter's dander up.

But there still is two wildcards that could upset your hand.

1) Vermont has a much stronger preservation ethos and may bulk at the bon marche. (Brattleboro merchants may not cotton to having a better access to the Hinsdale Super Walmart.)

2) Memories of the Bellows Falls Bridge debacle when a dangerous bridge wouldn't collapse and embarrassed NHDOT officials. Government officials hate that more than anything else.

Still, you may prevail.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 21, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Just got a called from a selectboard member insider...

Reliable sources are saying the Hinsdale bridge committee and selectboard has been given feelers by the NHDOT that there is a 50% chance the Hinsdale bridges are going to be shutdown permanently in the next week or so...

Big NHDOT meeting on the bridges are scheduled for this Wednesday...

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 21, 2013, by Steven W Lindsey (SteveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Poker Tutor

Send Shaheen's office an email. Write it with bended knee, hat doffed. Write as a concerned constituent about your desire to replace these bridges. Mention her good work at the Sewall Falls bridge and that you think this would garner votes here too.

Acknowledge your mistake by removing the planks and apologize. Say you were disparate. And promise to stay away from any photo op Shaheen holds in Hinsdale.

She and Kuster are powerful. You are not. But you both want the same thing. So throw in with her and Kuster. Do it their way.

That said, it might still be too late. Shaheen is notoriously skittish. A few years back they were removing a Hinsdale dam across the Ashuelot River for river-run fish with federal money. Shaheen was to attend the celebrations and reap some profile. But when a few of us mentioned this was a historic civil engineering structure that powered the nearby Holman and Merriman Machine Shop, she cancelled. She doesn't like controversy. The dam was removed without her.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 20, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

"If you play your cards right"...

So how does one play my cards right?

There have never given me any hints they were my allies what so ever...

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 19, 2013, by Steven W Lindsey (SteveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)


Shaheen and Kuster are your natural allies yet you refer to them as "clowns."

You attract more flies with honey than vinegar.

Shaheen and Kuster need votes in the SW part of the state too.

If you play your cards right, you can get them to bring their dog and pony show to Hinsdale too, where the Keene and Brattleboro papers as well as local radio would cover them.


Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 18, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

It would make is easier if we had a major NH newspaper (Concord Monitor) located within a half mile of our Hinsdale bridge like the Sewell’s Falls Bridge.

Remember they have way less than half the traffic than we do at 10,000 per day…

I wrote about the Sewell’s Falls bridge way before these clowns showed up. They are playing to the high population southeast golden coast voters…we are dirt poor and a tiny population in Hinsdale. Remember it is the obstructionist mad dog Republicans behind our problems.

This is how I framed it on July 6 2013: ‘Hinsdale's Sewalls Falls Bridge”


Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 18, 2013, by Anonymous

“This concept has been practiced elsewhere, including Europe.”

If Europe is so successful, how many nuclear aircraft carriers do they have and how come they never put a man on the moon first?

They can't even drive themselves out of their depression...

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 18, 2013, by Steven W Lindsey (SteveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

There are More Effective Ways to get a Historic Bridge Demolished.

Mulligan may want to take a page from two of New Hampshire's congressional delegation.

Senator Jeanne Shaheen and Rep Annie Kuster held a press conference on the Sewalls Falls Bridge in Concord, calling for its replacement, on Sept 12, 2013. I believe the Shaheen-Kuster approach to be more effective than prying planks up from the Charles Dana Bridge's walkway and dropping them into the river.

Maybe Shaheen and Kuster would be willing to replicate their dog and pony show in Hinsdale as there is an election coming up. They need the photo ops. Ask them.

See: See: http://www.concordmonitor.com/news/politics/8476217-95/shahe...


Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 17, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

In all cases, since funding has been tight overall, inspecting and maintaining (including fixing) the bridges far outweighs replacing them. Bridges should be replaced if and only if all options of prolonging their lifespans are exhausted. This concept has been practiced elsewhere, including Europe. This is why many countries have more historic bridges than the New England states. As I said before, bridges last the longest if they are inspected properly and maintained, with parts being fixed upon demand. And they should be designed to carry appropriate volumes of traffic, which means the days of oversized and overweight vehicles have been numbered. Less means more, get it?

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 17, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

“department has inserted so-called catcher beams underneath the bridge's main”

I consider them making a ‘facilitative assumption”...it is a form of fraud.

So what kind of testing or prototype or model testing did they do to make sure the catcher beams would work under the worst case? Where the rubber meets the road in safety, you don’t depend on some Hoboken engineer trying to save pennies and get promoted to gin up tack welding metal to a dangerous bridge. So where is the proof the catcher beams would work?

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 17, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

You think this bouncing bridge article yesterday was a coincidence with our bouncing bridge discussion...I don’t think so. Thanks.


AP IMPACT: Many US Bridges Old, Risky and Rundown

WASHINGTON September 16, 2013 (AP)

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 16, 2013, by Steven W Lindsey (SteveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Others have damaged heritage bridges this year. Mulligan's motives might be different as is the extent of the damage done. None-the-less, by his actions on the Charles Dana Bridge, he is in danger of being seen like them by the public.


Lenticular bridge in New Milford, Conn vandalized by having deck plate removed. See: http://www.vintondaily.com/news_briefs/historic-covered-brid...

Steel truss Bunker Mill Bridge's wooden deck burned. See: http://www.kcrg.com/news/local/Fate-of-Historic-Washington-C...

It is important that Mulligan learn there are other and more productive ways of protesting that are more effective than damaging public property, even if he deems his motives above reproach.


Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 16, 2013, by Anonymous

“Just as punishment should be meted out to those who burned those two covered bridges this summer in the Mid-West, as well as those who set fire to the decks of steel truss bridges in the same time period, as well as those vandals who removed a metal deck plate from that lenticular bridge in Connecticut."

I never obstructed traffic. The roadway has 10,000 cars per day and the bridge walkway barely has 25 people a day who use it. My objective was to fix the walkway...the NHDOT came within 12 hours. They renailed the boards I removed...they then renailed numerous other loose and unattached boards.

My aim was to fix this bridge in the quickest way possible.

I discussed the bridge walkway problems with the Hinsdale police prior to this and wrote a unanswered letter about the loose planks to the NHDOT...both blew me off.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 16, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

I love it when public involvement in a historic bridge ends up in a person harassing another source using it as a channel:

Is it me, or is he cracking? Look at the message placed in the Bridgehunter's Chronicles and tell me what you think:

Mr. Smith,

You fundamentally don’t know the long problems with the NHDOT and the politicization of our NH transportation system. This guy has had repeated studies and reports about replacing thesebridge since 1978. You could have built three bridges with the cost of all these reports. We been on the ten year wish list many times in 30 years…we have been over the same territory over and over again with the dysfunction and over prescribed ten year list. Our 1921 bridge is not going to get replaced for 50 Year.

Remember the nails and screws on those planks had completely rusted away and there was nothing attaching the boards to the bridge. This is the way we in NH get the NHDOT to fix our bridges. I was the first person in the history of NH who repaired a state owned bridge, and got arrested for it to boot. Those boards were firmly nailed to the bridge next day by the NHDOT. I damage no other component of the damaged bridge.

Here is an example of how horrid the NHDOT is. On Sept 12 of last week, we local people got the treat of watching the NHDOT washing last winter’s salt off this bridge through a huge water tanker truck. What is wrong with this picture?



If this was the case, then why was it not reported right away to authorities instead of taking the law into one's hands? Scratching my head over this....

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 15, 2013, by Steven W Lindsey (SteveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

" ... until I got arrested with five counts and a felony. "---Mike Mulligan

Sounds to me like an appropriate response to the destruction of public property.

Just as punishment should be meted out to those who burned those two covered bridges this summer in the Mid-West, as well as those who set fire to the decks of steel truss bridges in the same time period, as well as those vandals who removed a metal deck plate from that lenticular bridge in Connecticut.

Public property "in the commons" must be defended.


Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 15, 2013, by Anonymous


Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 15, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

If NH has a multiyear pause on “all” new school construction funding because they are in the poor house...you think our pettily bridge got a chance?

This is a national problem!

I don't see why the bridge construction firms don't fund my legal defence...the bridge project is $46 million dollars. This is the quickest way to get the contract...somebody get to bid on the contract?

$46 million dollars is peanuts to me!


With state school building aid paused, Keene trying to move forward on projects

“But it’s a tactic Keene won’t be able to use this time; as the district prepares to introduce plans to renovate each of the city’s elementary schools, the state’s building aid program remains frozen.

When that multi-year moratorium on state-supported new school construction ends, a revised system will take over that caps the amount of money available and turns what was once an open door for aid into a competition.”

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 15, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (streamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Oh brother, I have been talking to lawyers lately. They have got me dazed and now I am begging for food. I hope you aren’t going to bill me for this excellent analysis like the lawyers are doing?

I kid people who came on tours with me on the bridge...I won’t allow them to come on the bridge with me if you haven’t taken your Dramamine. Most of the people felt uncomfortable with the bridge motion who came on my tours...they were surprised and many felt fear.

We have a rather large saw mill near us. These guys have 12 foot tall and I believe 10 feet long tractors log beds, and then another 12 foot high by 10 feet long trailers. I was blessing these guys before they entered the bridge in case they won the lottery directly into heaven...”in the name of the father, son and holy ghost”. Everyone was going to heaven when I was on the bridge! I got a lot...most...of these trucker to hilariously laugh with me and they all had positive thumbs heading towards the sky. I was told some trucker went out of their way to come to the Hinsdale bridges just to get blessed by the ‘halo guy” Mike Mulligan. Truckers have a wonderful sense of humor. A few chased me and was mumbling something about kicking my butt if they caught me, but those were overweight and they sucked at running.

I made a lot of local noise about all the heavy logging trucks I’d seen and absolutely no NHDOT temporary weight stations three years ago. Then most of the logging truck stopped coming across our bridges.

Lately the local media and NHDOT have been bragging about the severe weight restrictions on the bridge. See, the NHDOT cares and these guys just accept without questioning what officialdom speaks. They are freaking machines to the one. I have a CDL license and am a retired truck driver.

There are no weight limitation signs approaching the bridge for the truckers. I know the highest federal legal weight limit(without permit) of 80,000 pound can cross that bridge. So where are the weight restrictions? The bridge is designated an E-2 bridge. Basically there is a much higher state limit than the federal limit. I contend NH will allow a much higher tractor trailer legal weight on the Hinsdale’s 1921 bridge than on our Interstates even with the so called severe weight restriction.

Everything about this bridge is about vague words and tricky phrases with the officials...keeping the truth out of state and federal document. Just because there is a bridge code doesn’t mean they measure it and abide by the code. It is all “I hate the government” voluntary engineering codes and it’s unenforceable!

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 15, 2013, by vierendeel

First, let me begin by saying I am a structural engineer. I have a degree in civil engineering and am a licensed professional engineer. I have been designing bridges for the last 13 years. Allow me to interject and address some of the technical issues being discussed here.

DESIGN LIFE: The current bridge design code in the United States for vehicular and pedestrian bridges (AASHTO) is intended to provide a nominal design life of 75 years, assuming adequate maintenance. Owners may design to a higher standard if they so choose, but in my experience most do not vary much, if at all, from the AASHTO requirements except for larger signature type bridges. Older versions of the AASHTO code provided a design life more in the range of 50 years, although I don't think it was explicitly stated. As for railroad bridges, I believe they are typically designed for a longer life, but I am not as familiar with the code governing their design (AREMA).

DEFLECTION & VIBRATION: All bridges will experience some amount of deflection under load. The repeated loading and un-loading of spans due to transient loads (truck and pedestrian) can generate the sensation of vibration, or "bouncing" as has been described here. Excessive deflection and/or vibration can cause structural issues, but it's actually not desirable primarily from a user comfort perspective. The AASHTO bridge design code indirectly addresses vibration concerns due to transient loads by limiting the allowable deflection of the superstructure. I believe AREMA addresses vibration for railroad bridges in the same way. Vibration is more perceptible by pedestrians than by passengers in vehicles, so the allowable deflection for bridges accommodating pedestrians is more stringent.

So, the short answer is yes, all bridges will deflect or "bounce" to some extent, but the design should be such that it is not enough to be overly perceptible and cause discomfort to the intended user. The issue with older bridges is often that the intended user has changed significantly, i.e., the loading has significantly increased beyond that for which it was originally designed.

Posted September 15, 2013, by Luke Harden (lukemh9 [at] gmail [dot] com)


Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 15, 2013, by Anonymous

Can anyone find me a quote in news media reports that I damaged other components? I didn't! My intentions were just to get the NHDOT to nail down unattached boards to the bridge. It work like a charm until I got arrested with five counts and a felony.


“and causing additional damage to the structure...

All bull!

Reasonability versus Radicalism involving a pair of New Hampshire bridges

The Charles Dana and Anna Hunt Marsh Bridges are two identical green 1920 Parker through truss spans that carry NH Hwy. 119 over the Connecticut River and its island connecting Battleboro and Hinsdale. Both are considered eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places. But sadly both are too narrow and need to be replaced. Replacement plans have been in the works for over 20 years, but one person tried to quicken the process by vandalizing the bridge. Mike Mulligan was arrested for pulling the wooden planks from the pedestrian boardwalk and causing additional damage to the structure as a way of justifying the need to replace the bridge. He was later released with a restraining order that he stays away from the bridge and if he needs to cross it, he must not get out of the car. Mr. Mulligan recently used James Baughn’s Bridgehunter website to justify his actions, which turned into a philosophical discussion involving the bounciness and the oil for the wheel. Needless to say he did not receive any support but he is in the running for the 2013 Smith Awards in the category “Dumbest Reason to Destroy a Bridge.” A link to the Charles Dana Bridge with the dialogue in the comment section can be found here. As for the bridges themselves, they are scheduled to be replaced but plans are in the making to convert these bridges into pedestrian crossings. But it will take 3-5 years before work actually begins, given the current budget situation in New Hampshire. Sorry Mike, but you have to deal with the current situation and grin and bear it. It’s better than going to jail and paying dearly for vandalism.

- See more at: http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2013/09/13/newsflyer-1...

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 15, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Sure, on all rope bridges?

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 15, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Of course, all of us have been on bridges new and old and they do have a bouncing sensation. Even those that are 100-200 feet long. You should try it out before going out and trying to defame yourself by damaging another bridge. You've already been humiliated by the public for your actions. I suggest you back down from your twisted arguments that lack substance if you don't want to be named and shamed for sure, Mister.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 14, 2013, by Michael Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

In your dreams...

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 14, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

In you dreams...

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 14, 2013, by Steven W Lindsey (SteveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Mike Mulligan,

You are an irresponsible man. There are other ways to draw attention to the issue outside of endangering the public (pedestrians, bicyclists) who use the span.

Based on your actions, I attach little value to your opinions and observations.


Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 14, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)


Sept 13

Shaheen, Kuster Tour Sewalls Falls Road Bridge

“There’s a certain amount of lifetime movement on the steel before it really becomes brittle,” he said. “It’s like a paper clip. You start bending that, and all the sudden it breaks. That’s the issue that we have here.”

Hinsdale’s Sewalls Falls Bridge (July 6, 2013)


Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 14, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

"All bridges, even our modern bridges bounce because of the weight placed on the structure by trucks."

Could you give me a engineering reference for this statement?

It is just not true...maybe move almost imperceptibly...but not bounce. Maybe wider spans...but not short ones of say of 250 feet...

I got a brand new truss bridge in mind that could falsify your statement...

So, you have been on every bridge?

They just don't make civil engineers like they used to?

The more those metal parts bend, plastic deformation and bending area made more brittle...the more likely they are to fracture and break in a short period of time.

If you ever wanted to talk to me about my case...just give me a call at 1 603 209 4206. Don't listen to any of these inaccurate nut cases about me....

Be respectful!

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 14, 2013, by Luke Harden (lukemh9 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I didn't make the macro, but the point still stands.

If you lot stop responding to him... he'll (hopefully) stop responding.

Then the buffoonery will have ended.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 14, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Uh Luke, there is a misspelling- should be immediately not what you wrote... ;-)

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 14, 2013, by Jason Smith (JDSmith77 [at] gmx [dot] net)

Apparently someone who expects to have a bridge that lasts 125 years does not have a clue about the science of bridges, engineering and preservation. All bridges, even our modern bridges bounce because of the weight placed on the structure by trucks. The difference is today's bridges are unable to handle heavier loads and volumes of traffic because of the design used, its flaws, and lack of maintenance. You cannot have a functioning bridge unless you maintain it properly. And vandalizing a bridge just so a person can have it his/her way is actually provoking a safety hazard, Mr. Mulligan. Stupidity comes at a price and quite frankly sir, if you don't want to be named and shamed as a stupid guy that can cause a loss of life, then I suggest you leave the bridges alone, go to school and study bridge engineering to better understand the logic of it.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 13, 2013, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

Everyone has the right to speak their mind whether this is the right forum or not. Disrespect has no real place for people here just ugly bridges.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 13, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Is is called science, something you don't believe in.

Wiki: The original spans of the bridge east of Yerba Buena Island became the subject of concern after a section collapsed during the Loma Prieta earthquake on October 17, 1989. The replacement span is engineered to withstand the largest earthquake expected over a 1500 year period, and it is expected to last at least 150 years with proper maintenance.[8]

Tony, Tony, Tony...

Why can’t you keep your promises?

You: “And with that I am finished engaging in any dialogue with Mr. Mulligan...”

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 13, 2013, by Julie Bowers (jbowerz1 [at] gmail [dot] com)

That's not true. We don't build bridges today that last as long nor have the elegance that the truss bridges bring to the landscape.

These bridges can be restored to usefulness and save money in the long term. Alternative routes for massive farm and trucking industry vehicles can be found or they need to moderate their need to be so big. The money all comes from the same pie, different slice sizes go to different resources.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 13, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yaho [dot] com)

Yea well, what we see with these retired obsolete bridges...They just don’t have money keeping up with the maintenance of the bridge/ walkway in these poor economic times. They become a rusted hulk of an eyesore and a depressant to the community.

I wouldn’t mind if it was private funding...but most of it is locale, state a federal funding.

Right, it is a matter of jobs and economic growth to have an efficient highway system and to spend money in the best interest of the community.

So you would rather spend millions of dollars on a obsolete bridge that only benefits a few?

You tax many hours of commuter and business time...you steal money from schools and feeding poor people in order to restore mostly useless structures.

And by the way, this so called draft 10 year transportation is a scam. They won’t begin replacing this bridge, if at all, until they have to shut down the bridge for safety reasons.

We can build bridges today to last 125 years...

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 11, 2013, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I guess the bottom line here (or at least as far as the regulars to this site go) is to see these 2 spans preserved. It is very short-sighted to say that these bridges can't be rehabilitated to continue serving traffic. But at least seeing them repurposed for pedestrians is better than seeing them cut up for scrap.

And with that I am finished engaging in any dialogue with Mr. Mulligan other than to say you are wasting your time as you will find no empathy on this forum.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 11, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com )

A highly over prescribed draft 10 year plan verging on fruad...

The old "The squeaky wheel gets the oil?" in the article?

New Hampshire's 10-year plan includes bridge

By DOMENIC POLI / Reformer Staff

Posted: 09/10/2013 03:00:00 AM EDT | Updated: about 3 hours ago

(Zachary P. Stephens/Brattleboro Reformer)

HINSDALE, N.H. -- There is new hope on the horizon for advocates of replacing the two bridges linking the town with Brattleboro, Vt.

A proposed $45.7 million project to rehabilitate the Anna Hunt Marsh and Charles Dana bridges for pedestrian and bicycle traffic and replace them with one that spans the Connecticut River made it onto the draft proposal of the 2015-24 N.H. Department of Transportation's 10-year Transportation Improvement Plan.

The project has the support of elected and appointed officials on both sides of the river, as they view a new bridge as a necessity for both safety and economic prosperity.

Hinsdale is reachable from Brattleboro via two Pennsylvania truss bridges built in 1920. The Anna Hunt Marsh Bridge links Brattleboro to Hinsdale Island, which is connected to Hinsdale by the Charles Dana Bridge. JB Mack, the principal planner for the Southwest Region Planning Commission, has said federal highway standards dictate the bridges are too narrow and have insufficient weight limits and vertical clearances. They are considered "functionally obsolete."

The bridges are used by emergency services and freight trucks, as people in medical distress are often taken to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital and a lot of cargo is carried across the bridges during transportation. And officials say both Hinsdale and Brattleboro benefit financially from the thousands of vehicles that use the bridges every day. People go to Hinsdale to shop at Walmart and several fireworks stores and Brattleboro has a downtown area filled with mom-and-pop businesses and eateries.

At a June 3 meeting about the project, officials agreed Vermont and New Hampshire cannot afford to have the two bridges "red-listed," or closed due to deficiencies within the next 10 years. The new bridge would begin near the stop light at the former Walmart location in Hinsdale, stretch across the Connecticut River and touch down near the Merrill Gas Company tank farm in Brattleboro.

Michael Darcy, chairman of the Hinsdale Board of Selectmen, said the project's inclusion in the 2015-24 transportation improvement plan means local officials are keeping the pressure on.

"It shows that we've put effort in the right way to get the recognition and acknowledgment we need," he said, "and the meetings to finalize the list will be starting toward the end of the month and go until Oct. 8."

New Hampshire State Rep. William Butynski (D-Hinsdale, Chesterfield, Winchester) said the first meeting Darcy was referring to is slated to be held at Hinsdale

Darcy said Hinsdale and Brattleboro are a shared community and it is important to keep the bridge issue "on the front burner." He added that inclusion to the plan equals less of an uphill battle for those advocating a new bridge.

The squeaky wheel gets the oil?

"It doesn't mean we've won, but it's a step in the right direction," he said. "We haven't won until we have the bridge. That's the end goal."

Butynski called the project's inclusion on the 10-year plan "a wonderful start" but said the objective must now be to keep it there. A project to replace the current bridges was placed on the plan in the 1990s but was eventually dropped. He said it is also vital to get the funding for the project "sooner, rather than later."

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 10, 2013, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Funny that you say "The squeaky wheel gets oil", but with your mentality the squeaky wheel would be replaced with one that costs the taxpayers an exorbitant amount of money. Meanwhile, the squeaky wheel that only needs oil to work properly would be thrown in the dumpster.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 10, 2013, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

No sir, you really don't have a clue... But if it's blasphemy you desire then you certainly have that covered!

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 10, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

"The squeaky wheel gets the oil?"

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 10, 2013, by Matt Lohry

No, I really don't think you do, sorry...

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 10, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Now I know how Jesus felt.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 10, 2013, by interesting_guy (interesting_guy [at] two-Xs [dot] com)

I don't come here often, but when I do, I prefer to read posts from ancient Greeks who go unnamed or deceased engineers. Legends in there own time, not so much.

Stay anonymous and posthumous, my good friends.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 9, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (stemshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Generally, I get this from people who all they like to do is sit on the butt and never take chances…

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 9, 2013, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

How about "A Legend In His Own Mind"!?

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 8, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

Hmm, the plan is to build a new bridge a half a mile downstream. They want to rehabilitate the current bridge. Rehabilitate “Island Park”...turn the island into an unobstructed grassy park with picnic areas. So the bridge and Island would be in direct connection with all the local trails for hiking and biking. The 1921 bridges would be a walking bridge.

I just want to get the heavy traffic off this bridge it was never designed for.

They are a heartbeat away from closing the bridge for safety reason and making me a legend in my time.

I have been confronted with mono and simpleton thinking people all my life.

So you guys are bridge and safety luddites?


"Act of Civil Love or of love of civil…"

"It is a demonstration of my love of government and with a centralizing organizing force."

"It is my symbolic act of violence against no government…"

"It was my violent reckless conduct against the philosophy of no government and the widespread public sentiment with hating their government..."

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 7, 2013, by Clark Vance (cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com)

The walkway sounds like a good project for a prospective Eagle Scout: Repairs to historic bridge linking towns/states. The situation doesn't sound quite desperate enough to call for civil disobedience.

With luck, in the future the states will build a new crossing that avoids the RR tracks and other obsolete traffic obstructions. The historic bridges can be there for non-polluting traffic.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 7, 2013, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I Think your barking up the wrong tree here Mike... The mass majority of the people on this site want this bridge left right where it is. Restored... NOT replaced.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 7, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

So four counts and a felony…you should see the numbers of errors on the complaint and my bail paperwork.

The bail paperwork said my driver license was removed…the police said three days later it was all a mistake.

The bail bondsman is a long time local in our town…he got his job from a state high political leader who happens to live in Hinsdale also. I have been protesting on and off at the bridge for three years. He tried to humiliate me while in police custody as we were discussing the bail condition. He never mentioning to me he grabbed my license till the Oct 3 arrangement. The court is a couple of towns away from me …the 8th district course. He is a court employee and it questions if I can trust the court with integrity. He was trying to punish me outside a court proceeding.

Cause For Concern


My blog:


Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 7, 2013, by Mike Mulligan (steamshovel2002 [at] yahoo [dot] com)

I wrote to the NHDOT complaining about the dangerous walkway boards way before this. They blew me off. As with the selectmen. The police told me it was state property, there is nothing they could do.

The walkway boards weren’t attached to the bridge. The plank nails and screws had completely rusted away. I easily pulled the planks up by hand.

I put substantial safety barriers up at both ends of the bridge…when I was done I called 911 and reported myself to the police. I made sure the police were inspecting my work within a hour at the completion of my job.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 6, 2013, by J.P. (wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com)

I think they are saying he can still drive across it but not stop a car on it and do damage to it again. Or walk within 1 mile of the bridge.

Charles Dana Bridge
Posted September 5, 2013, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

How can he stop someone within 100 yds of the bridge... If he isn't allowed within a mile of it?

Connecticut River Bridge
Posted September 5, 2013, by Dave King (DKinghawkfan [at] hotmail [dot] com)

At a loss for words with this one.


From the article:

Eldridge said part of Mulligan's bail conditions mandate that he not walk within a mile of either side of the Charles Dana Bridge or stop any vehicle within 100 yards of it. The lieutenant said witnesses saw Mulligan pulling up some of the bridge's boards.

Connecticut River Bridge
Posted September 5, 2013, by Steven W Lindsey (SteveLindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Proper name of the bridge is the Charles Dana Bridge, as it was named by the NH Legislature and governor with the approval of Hinsdale, NH and Brattleboro, Vt. town bodies.

Charles Dana was the famed New York newspaper man and abolitionist. He was born in Hinsdale, NH.

Connecticut River Bridge
Posted May 21, 2013, by Nathan Holth (form3 [at] historicbridges [dot] org)