Discovered this bridge noted in an old SIA newsletter, and per Google it appears its still here!
The height of the bridge is 130' over the river. It was the second highest bridge on the Boston & Maine when built. Clinton (MA) viaduct was 133'.
Just saw this bridge on a show on the Food Network called Restaurant Impossible about the Covered Bridge Farm Table restaurant.The bridge looked to be in great shape after the work that was done on it.The work that was done to the bridge was mentioned on the show.
The restaurant is actually named Covered Bridge Farm Table Restaurant.My mistake.
The Country Cow restaurant is now the Covered Bridge Farm and Table Restaurant.I forgot to mention that and also when anybody visits the covered bridge they can stop at the restaurant.
Thanks Dana and Kay.
George added a street view you can see Country Cow from
I was just watching a show on the Food Network called Restaurant Impossible starring Robert Irvine and during the show the restaurant called the Country Cow they dealt with I happened to see this covered bridge in a lot of the background shots.This show also was filmed during the bridge rehab on 8/20/14.Amazing how beautiful it looks.
Bridge is gone. Demolished earlier this year to be replaced with a beam bridge.
Good pictures!Lots of detail pictures for modelers.Looking at photos of the piers and abutments I see concrete extensions to the granite work. Looks like the entire bridge was relatively recently raised about two feet. Probably after the state acquired it from the B&M RR.Can anyone confirm or refute ?
Know as the Ela Bridge. Ela was also the name of a (wooden) Box Shop near this location.
The article said "A"... As in one singular floor beam is bad. That would be an easy replacement. Other than that I see a beautiful structure that needs a paint job. I saw nothing in any of those photos that suggested rampant section loss.
More bureaucratic BS...
Bridge indefinitely closed:
WARNING! One of the image renderings in the above article is of a proposed replacement for the General Sullivan Bridge. It is hideously ugly and is a USEB (Ugly Steel Eyesore Bridge).
While the current bridge definitely looks scary and falling apart with all of the rust both above and below the deck, I don’t think that its an irreversible problem. If the structure can no longer carry any traffic due to the extreme deterioration, the trusses should be relocated elsewhere for a non-functional display exhibit.
Sadly, it appears that this bridge may ultimately have the same fate as the Waldo-Hancock Suspension Bridge up in Maine, where the bridge was allowed to deteriorate after being closed to vehicular traffic and was not maintained, and therefore had to be demolished for safey’s sake. While safety does come first in anything, sometimes I wonder if safety and preservation could go together more frequently...
After a long series of negotiations, the town of Windham in conjunction with NHDOT have decided that they are not going to replace the Castle Hill Road Bridge, and therefore the Mammoth Road access to the neighborhoods within will be closed indefinitely.
The primary reason for this is that residents and people affiliated with Windham High School, which is located on the NH-111 side of the road (the road is known as London Bridge Road on that end) were concerned that replacing the bridge and reopening the road would result in a significant increase in traffic using the road as a shortcut/bypass and would therefore end the area’s ability to be a quiet residential neighborhood. There has been a significant increase in the amount of traffic using both Mammoth Road and NH-111 since the closure of the Castle Hill Bridge in 2007, and therefore residents on both ends are concerned about the increase in traffic a reopened bridge could bring.
Reportedly, an historical marker to indicate the location of this bridge prior to collapse is going to be erected, although I have not heard anything more than that.
The replicated Moose Brook (using salvaged Rods Nuts & Washers and Cast Iron Angle Blocks) is now the Trout Brook and has been emplaced at the WW&F Rw and will within the coming year carry trains again.
My conclusion at first is this was a pipeline crossing. It may have been a foot bridge. This is about 500 feet downstream to the railroad bridge. I'm not sure if it aligns with Moore's Crossing Road.
Something to consider is that Pine Island Pond was an outflow to Lake Massabesic and there still is a Dam on it and the was a mill on the Cohas Brook just up from on its out fall to the Merrimack River. Massabesic is a drinking water source so was this a fresh water source to the Bedford side of the river?
$3.3 Million spent here instead of fixing the abysmal traffic flow between East Hooksett and the highway on-ramp. College Park Drive, Main Street, West River Road and Hackett Hill intersections could have all benefitted from $3.3 million in safety improvements.
Update from my earlier post on the NHDOT. Strange but the NHDOT has proposed saving three metal bridges late in the day. The first is the General Sullivan's central span on NH's SeaCoast. This was met with fierce opposition from both the conservative state newspaper and the liberal seacoast newspapers. The other two bridges connect Hinsdale, NH and Brattleboro, Vt which the NHDOT proposed to become access to Island Park once a large span opens up downstream. Here locals from Hinsdale are opposing keeping the two although the local newspapers seem to have ignored the issue editorially.
Yes, actually I have told someone to take my photo off Facebook when they were passing it off as their own work. Copyright is copyright. Period.
Licensed. You keep using that word but I don't think you know what it means.
You cannot legally post copyrighted photographs on your website without permission or a license from the copyright holder. Full stop. By posting somebody else's photographs on your website, you are setting yourself up for a DMCA takedown notice or a lawsuit. You can either learn this the easy way or the hard way.
I DON'T NEED PERMISSION TO USE A PHOTO ON MY PERSONAL WEBSITE!!
You don't go around and tell people that they need to get "permission" in order to post a photo on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media/blog site.
Again, my website is NOT LICENSED.
Regardless though, how am I supposed to know the real identity of the author when they don't leave an email address or any other contact information?
Did you get permission from C. Hanchey to use his photo on your website?
IMO both are needed, since "destroyed by ice" isn't an official status category (YET. It should be.)
The new page looks good, I would make two other suggestions. 1. Pick one either destroyed by ice or destroyed by flood. 2. Since you have pics of the replacement bridge post a couple labeled current bridge or replacement bridge...
Then it's "Destroyed by flooding" with the "Destroyed by ice" subcategory added, not "preserved", as what's there now is new pedestrian construction, not what was there before being preserved.
The bridge width negates your claim that it was a former road bridge, though, just like how the machinery height and narrowness of a span negated the Lawrence, MA bridge as being a "railroad bascule".
This replaced a road bridge, and, quite frankly, whatever was there before is probably more interesting than this pseudo-suspension.
Despite it being blurry, if you compare the bridge width in the 1951 imagery to the bridge width in 1992 imagery, you can see that the current structure is far narrower than what was there in 1951 (Or even the slightly-clearer 1974 imagery.).
I mean, Royce and I spent the better part of the past week arguing, and he recommended me in his reply to you.
People can disagree and still be respectful.
It's hard to be respectful when one takes the disagreement far too personally, as you continually have.
We appreciate your contributions, but if you're gonna pull the "time and money" card, both Royce (From the DFW-area, travels all over photographing (Cue Johnny Cash).), Nathan (From Michigan; Runs his own bridge site.), and John (From the MSP-area; Travels around the Midwest, juggling this hobby AND his university studies.) have you beat.
Did you take any measurements of the extant bridge - length, width, vertical clearance? Was there any evidence of a prior bridge on the stone pilings? Do you have a clear photo of the timber stringers or did you take note of their dimensions?
I appreciate your passion and your enthusiasm. However, please don't tell me that I don't have a right to disagree with you. A number of us disagree and we don't all get along but that doesn't mean we don't have similar goals about bridge preservation and about this site.
Also, if you looked into it, you will find that quite a few here spend significant amounts of their time and/or money pursuing this hobby.
This is far too narrow to have been a vehicular bridge.
Historicaerials shows a much wider bridge here in previous years.
I'm willing to compromise on a lot of things... have you ever noticed that I've deleted many of my bridge pages that you or Luke have said are "wrong" even though I know they weren't wrong? Did you notice that I removed the essay from the Pineground Bridge even though I strongly disagree with your rationale for requesting that I do so?
However, I will not compromise when I personally spent an hour out in the cold weather documenting and inspecting this bridge. I didn't even know it existed until I was poking around on Google Street View one day and noticed the "Bridge Closed" signs on either end of the street (which, BTW indicate that this is indeed a former vehicular bridge - if it was constructed just for pedestrian use, the entire road would've been blocked off except to the one or two people that live there)
As I said, I spent a good hour out in the cold documenting this bridge and determining which elements were functional and which elements were decorations. I never said that the bridge was a wire suspension bridge... however the wires are more than just "wires running through the railing". They are supplementing a small portion of the timber stringer on one end of the bridge. Additionally, the wooden towers are not decorations - they are part of the pier construction.
Honestly, IMHO you have no right to be arguing and criticizing me about a bridge that is not in the NBI that you have not personally visited and I have.
I'm kind of at the end of my rope here. If people don't start being appreciative for the time and money I've spend and continue to spend traveling across the country and documenting bridges, sometimes in the least of urban areas... congratulations.. you just lost a contributor.
I'm not wiling to compromise on this one.
I know what I saw and I know my eyes were not deceiving me. This page is staying as it is, unless Mr. Baughn says otherwise.
I'm only responding to your comment about the bridge carrying vehicular traffic. The bridge that originally sat on those abutments may have carried vehicular traffic, as it was considerably wider.
To me, it looks like the structure that is there now is for pedestrians and, maybe, golf carts.
This bridge clearly once was used by vehicular traffic - otherwise why would there be vehicular approaches to it with “Bridge Closed” signs on both sides?
Some of what you are saying *might* be valid if this page was based off external sources like many of mine have been, but it’s not valid when I made an ACTUAL SITE VISIT TO THE BRIDGE AND SPENT ABOUT AN HOUR DOCUMENTING IT. Did you even look at the photos I took, which clearly show a decorative wire suspension system?
Regardless if you think my work is sloppy, you don’t just go in and delete half of it without explaining in the update log and/or a comment. You want me to “discuss” your work; you need to discuss mine. How would you feel if I just went to one of your pages, deleted half of the content that you had spent time putting together, and didn’t offer any explanation whatsoever?
To tack a valid criticism onto that, "damaged by flooding" seems to be superfluous of "destroyed by flooding" IMHO.
I've been cycling all day.
I was able to find the page that says it's open to snowmobiles etc. It's what the page says. I'll try to post the link to it:
Was that a Robert "Frost" poem
Heed the plaintive cry of the intrepid bridgehunter thwarted in their quest to cast their steely eyes upon the beauty that is an historic truss bridge.
In springtime, mud and high water doth impede their progress; summer and autumn are rife with biting insects, woodland creatures, and excessive foliage, making photography truly difficult.
But winter is the harshest season of all; she painteth the earth in fluffy white powder and ice, an hindrance most cruel.
Will no one come forth and vanquish this evil frozen precipitation in timely fashion?
Will no one give succor to this weary wanderer?
Eh, snow happens. Then it melts.
Seems strange you can not navigate the town site.
I brought this up at tonight’s Heritage Commission meeting, mentioning that the wintertime bridge closure despite lack of signage was causing confusion and arguments on BridgeHunter.com... as well as mentioning that someone from BridgeHunter.com reportedly claims the bridge is listed on the town website as open to snowmobiles, yet provided a dead link that gives 404 errors...
I was told that both issues “would be looked into” and that the Hertiage Commission will need to get in touch with the DPW for the first issue and the town webmaster regarding the second issue. The President of the Hertiage Commission has asked that I “inform all users of BridgeHunter.com that the issues are being looked into and that patience is greatly appreciated” (direct quote)
this is what the URL looks like for me
Or should I say works FINE for me
Works fine for me
404 page not found on that URL
The URL you linked is just the home page for our town website - it doesn't say anything about the bridge.
Regardless, the bridge is NOT open for snowmobiles, and the last few winters, as noted above, signage was posted saying the bridge was not maintained in the winter, though such signage was never installed this year.
Local area resident speaking
Amanda actually is correct. This bridge is closed whenever there is more than ~2 inches of snow on it. This is not a snowmobile trail, but rather essentially is just the sidewalk for the replacement bridge.
Usually there are signs erected at both ends that say “Bridge not maintained in the winter” however for some reason this year they were never put up.
Regardless, I can confirm that currently the bridge is accessible and fully open to pedestrians.
As with historic bridges open to the public here in Wisconsin, maintenance typically does not include clearing snow during the winter--there simply is no justification for the cost of clearing snow due to the fact that in winter in Wisconsin, snow is anticipated, and the assumption is that anyone wanting to visit them will properly prepare by putting on appropriate clothing/boots. In fact, many of these bridges are on trails used by snowmobiles, and as such, REQUIRE a substantial snow covering to prevent damage to the decks from snowmobile track studs and ski wear bars.
She also added a few on bridges that had similar names so people "wouldn't get them confused", despite them all being in entirely different states: https://bridgehunter.com/ny/richmond/verrazano-narrows/
What I'm seeing is a dirty I-beam flange with a wooden deck casting a deep shadow.
In any case, your notion that wooden bridges haven't been constructed recently/almost all non-covered examples being gone is false.
Hundreds still exist, and they continue to be built http://www.bec.iastate.edu/timber.cfm
One thing about bridges, you sometimes have to look underneath.
The underside of a bridge is not normally the most attractive part of the structure. It does not generally feature portal bracings, ornamentation, plaques, finials, and other cool stuff. But, by looking underneath, you can often get some good clues about how the bridge functions.
To use concrete bridges as an example, sometimes it's hard to tell a tee beam from a slab from a concrete through girder without looking underneath. I have found that sometimes even the National Bridge Inventory gets the structures confused.
Without looking underneath, my suspicion is this is a wooden bridge with some steel stringers underneath. A very high percentage of old bridges, including wooden bridges, have steel stringers underneath.
Except you can very clearly see where the I-beam's flange joins the web (vertical).
The bridge also appears to be in similar construction as another nearby bridge, which is clearly an I-beam span as well https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:IMG_4193_Magalloway_...
Looks like an I-beam to me. I can't tell if it's the older style or the Bethlehem Style.
Looks like an I-beam flange to me.
Looks like a steel stringer to me. Also the wikimedia page mentions steel.
I've found that an ample amount of snow makes pictures even better. Just gotta have a good pair of boots!
Three or four _inches_? Grab your mukluks and trudge!
Do try to avoid injury, seriously.
An interesting read, by Steve Lindsey
Jan 30, 2017
I have always wanted to write a book. Not a serious book. A humorous one. A light-hearted book. One of those “Secret Lives of Something” books. A part of a recognized series. A book where there would be a revenue stream, so I could take interesting vacations. Something with entertainment and distracting value.
My title would be “The Secret Lives of Elected and Appointed Officials.” A work that would put forth how politicians and commissioners actually work and behave. This wouldn’t be anything salacious involving stains on dresses or congressional pages. It would involve those seeking power, jockeying for power. That sort of thing.
My favorite chapter would illustrate the need to humiliate and demean lessors in the political hierarchy. Of particular interest would be the degradation of the citizenry that endures the political caste system. Keeping the citizen inline and under the thumb would make for boffo material, a good read.
In recent weeks, a group trying to save the Harlan Fiske Stone Bridge dissolved after years of stonewalling by state authorities. The Chesterfield Arch Bridge Beautification and Preservation Society is no more. They wanted to save the 1937 riveted-steel arch bridge and turn it into a park and scenic overlook on the Connecticut River. Like Shelburne Falls’ Bridge of Flowers.
This was, of course, a doomed project that sees two nearby underfunded state parks faltering and failing: Pisgah Park and the Chesterfield Gorge Natural Area.
This news followed on the heels of the dissolution of another citizens’ group proposing a dog park for Keene. City officials likewise broke the will of this grassroots effort, too. How dare the uneducated and unofficial voice opinion and put forth programs? We live in a world of experts.
For you out there, thinking of getting involved beyond voting once a year for one of two candidates chosen by party bosses, consultants and special interests, buy my book. It will be a better use of your time.
17 Center St
All we expected was bridge maintenance, by Lorraine Scrivani
Jan 31, 2017
Your editorial, “State shouldn’t fund bridge upkeep” (Jan. 24), states:
“… the group (Chesterfield Arch Bridge Society) is wrong to expect state transportation funds.”
It infers that we expected money from the state. Our group never expected money from the state.
We did expect some maintenance for the bridge. Although we had an encroachment agreement and we placed benches and flower barrels, the state owns and is responsible for some bridge upkeep and safety for pedestrians.
Chesterfield Arch Bridge Society
State shouldn't fund bridge upkeep
Jan 24, 2017
The Justice Harlan Fiske Stone Bridge, built in 1937, is rusting and hasn’t borne vehicle traffic since 2003, when a new, larger structure was built less than 20 feet away. Instead, it serves pedestrians, cyclists and those who just want to pause and enjoy the view of the Connecticut River.
The new bridge, dubbed the U.S. Navy Seabees Bridge, was long sought as concerns grew about the safety of the older bridge.
In 2009, a group of area residents formed the Arch Bridge Beautification and Preservation Society, hoping to not only keep the bridge in use, but also turn it into a lasting destination along the lines of the Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, Mass. Group members mowed grass, pulled weeds and installed planters at either end and in the middle of the bridge. They added benches and two water tanks to make watering flowers in planters easier. Local businesses donated money and materials for the project.
At one point, noting the deteriorating look of the bridge, the group applied for a N.H. Moose Plate Grant to fund the repair of some unsightly rusty cable conduits that run the length of the bridge, to no avail. The state Department of Transportation has been unwilling to fund repainting the structure, too.
The Arch Bridge Beautification and Preservation Society, having dwindled from about 40 members to a half-dozen today, announced recently it will disband. The announcement came with a tinge of bitterness that the state hasn’t stepped up to help fund its efforts.
As wonderful as those efforts have been for those who enjoy the pedestrian bridge, the group is wrong to expect state transportation funds.
New Hampshire has nearly 500 bridges on its “red list.” Those are just the ones deemed to be in such poor shape structurally that the state feels the need to inspect them more frequently and start planning to repair, rehabilitate or replace them. A separate list of 820 “mediocre” bridges — those close to making the red list — also exists.
Over the past 20 years, the state has essentially kept pace with the deterioration of bridges. Some years, it’s made a little progress; others, it’s fallen further behind. New Gov. Chris Sununu has promised to make transportation infrastructure a priority, so there’s hope the situation will get better.
In the meantime, as nice as it would be to have state funding to help keep the Harlan Fiske Stone Bridge viable, the prospect that even one Granite State bridge might fail for lack of repairs while funding went to repainting a closed and replaced bridge is horrific to contemplate.
The bridge group has certainly gone well beyond what could have been expected of its members, and it’s sad to see those members so frustrated that they’re ready to give up the effort. Perhaps a solution lies in applying for a grant through the state’s Land and Community Heritage Investment Program.
Or maybe they could follow another example the group’s leaders have cited. Shelburne Falls’ Bridge of Flowers, once slated to be destroyed, was saved by a community effort led by the local Woman’s Club. Though it was far more involved, the fundraising relied more on private donations and grant money than public funds. Its success created a reputation that has continued to garner support — enough to keep the maintenance going.
That’s a high bar and perhaps, when all is said and done, it’s not worth it to maintain a picturesque view and pedestrian trail. But putting state funds meant for public safety into such a project would be wrong.
The Keene Sentinel
Questions raised about old bridges at hearing for new Hinsdale-Brattleboro span
By Meg McIntyre Sentinel Staff Jan 19, 2018 (0)
HINSDALE — As state highway officials move forward with plans for a new bridge connecting the town to Brattleboro, members of the public have raised concerns about what will happen to the current bridges spanning the Connecticut River.
Several people asked about the future of those structures, and access to Hinsdale Island, at a public hearing Thursday night about the estimated $46 million project.
The bridges, named after Charles Dana and Anna Hunt Marsh, are Pennsylvania truss-style spans built in 1920 and rehabilitated in 1988. N.H. Department of Transportation officials classify the narrow bridges as functionally obsolete, which means they’re outdated, don’t meet current design standards and have height and weight restrictions.
In addition to building a new bridge, the transportation department plans to convert the old bridges for use by bicycles and pedestrians. The department has also applied for a TIGER grant to provide additional funds for the old bridges’ refurbishment.
The rest of the money for the bridge replacement project will come from federal highway funds, New Hampshire funds and Vermont funds, officials said Thursday.
Steve Lindsey, a former state representative from Keene, spoke in favor of maintaining the bridges so that people still have access to Hinsdale Island.
“It’s a wonderful public space. It’s a place for the public to go in nature, and it’s access to the river,” he said. “ ... We should maintain the old bridges as heritage structures, as access to a wonderful public resource for everyone to gain access to the island.”
Lindsey also noted that he had originally submitted the bill to name the bridges after Charles Dana and Anna Hunt Marsh, and that this style of bridge is no longer common.
However, Joseph Conroy, a Hinsdale resident who serves on the town’s budget committee, opposed maintaining the existing bridges and advocated for tearing them down sooner rather than later, which he said would be more inexpensive in the long-run.
“What are we going to do with them? Will they rot and fall into the river?” Conroy said. “ ... If we keep those bridges, 10 years from now, what’s it going to cost to take those bridges down? $10 million? $8 million? Taxpayers gotta pay for that.”
Hinsdale resident Edwin O. “Smokey” Smith, a former state representative, emphasized that if the bridges are maintained, the island should be cleaned up and turned into a “usable space” for the public.
A project to replace the bridges has been included in the state’s 10-year transportation improvement plan since fiscal year 1994, with its start date being delayed several times. It was bumped completely from the 2013-22 plan because of a lack of funding before being put back in the 2015-24 plan.
The new steel girder bridge, to be built several hundred feet downstream of the existing bridges, will stretch 1,782 feet across the Connecticut River. It will vary in width between 49 feet along the majority of the roadway and 53 feet at the Vermont-side intersection, which will be slightly wider to accommodate a turning lane where Route 119 intersects Route 142. That intersection will be controlled with a traffic signal. The plans also call for a 6-foot-wide sidewalk on the bridge’s north side, with a few viewing platforms for pedestrians to enjoy views of the river.
The state will begin accepting construction bids in late 2019, with work likely to begin in spring 2020 and continue into 2023, state officials said Thursday night.
The public hearing, which was moderated by a governor-appointed commission, drew about 50 people to Hinsdale Town Hall, including several state and town officials. The commission is chaired by Terry M. Clark, and area residents Christopher C. Coates and James M. Tetreault also serve on it.
State Sen. Jay V. Kahn, D-Keene, spoke in favor of the project, along with state Rep. Michael D. Abbott, D-Hinsdale.
“This project has been going on or in the works since basically 1973. It has been on and off the 10-year plan from that time forward ... I think that it’s been thoroughly vetted and explored and its time has come,” Abbott said. “I think that any delay in its implementation would have a very detrimental effect on the economic, social and basically the safety concerns of the Hinsdale community and all the other communities along Route 119.”
One attendee had a suggestion for naming the new bridge. Michael J. Mulligan of Hinsdale, who refers to himself as a “bridge angel,” proposed that the new bridge be named the Mike Mulligan Memorial Bridge.
Mulligan has been known in recent years for his demonstrations and protests on the bridge, where he posted warnings to drivers that they were traveling over what he claimed were unsafe structures.
A few hearing attendees asked about the process the project needed to go through on the Vermont side of the river.
They included Daniel Cotter, the director of plant and operations maintenance at Marlboro College, who expressed concern about the number of parking spaces the college’s Brattleboro location would lose because of the new construction.
Officials referred his concern and other questions to the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
The official record of the public hearing will remain open for 10 days. Members of the public can submit information or testimony for the record by mail to Peter E. Stamnas, director of project development at the N.H. Department of Transportation, at P.O. Box 483, Concord, 03302.
For more information on the project, visit http://bit.ly/2CpgxGF.
Meg McIntyre can be reached at 352-1234, extension 1404, or email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter at @MMcIntyreKS.
Fight to keep old Hinsdale bridges, by Steve Lindsey
Jan 17, 2018
They are building a big new bridge in Hinsdale. Across the Connecticut River. Over a wide section. Almost 1,800 feet of bridge (See “Public hearing set for Hinsdale bridge project,” The Sentinel, Dec. 30.)
After nearly 100 years, a new bridge, replacing two quirky green truss bridges upstream. It is the government’s responsibility to improve infrastructure to aid commerce. A Walmart SuperCenter is near the crossing. The Bridge to Walmart.
But government should be for more than commerce. The N.H. Department of Transportation project includes the preservation of the existing Anna Hunt Marsh and Charles Dana bridges, keeping the island in the middle of the river as a recreational area.
Why not? The government should be more to us than only providing for business. There are other parts of our lives that it should serve, too. Some have called for the demolition of the old bridges.
Consider joining me at the hearing to support keeping the two heritage spans. The hearing is Thursday at 7 p.m. at Hinsdale Town Hall.
Editorial: General Sullivan Bridge may need to go.
For decades the General Sullivan Bridge ferried travelers over the Little Bay between Portsmouth and Dover. Standing proudly, it served as a lifeline between the coast and inland communities such as Dover and Rochester. It provided a gateway for tourists and residents alike to our White Mountains region.
But as time wears on all of us, so it did on this iconic structure, which was put into service in 1935. Retirement came in 1984 with the opening of the second Little Bay Bridge.
Unfortunately, decision makers along the way sidestepped the question of what to do with this rusting, elderly green giant, and now the costs of doing anything have skyrocketed.
The time has now come to answer the question of what to do as we near completion of the second bridge and concerns rise about the safe use of the General Sullivan as it continues to deteriorate.
Also pushing a decision are concerns of bike riders, whose numbers have grown in recent years and who must get from one side of the bay to the other during and after construction.
As discussions now stand, attention is being focused on either rehabilitating the General Sullivan or removing its iron structure and building a narrower pedestrian/bike bridge using the existing pilings.
Unfortunately, the cost for either of those plans is jaw-dropping.
The price of a complete restoration of the 1,500-foot structure is tagged at $43.9 million. The alternative, which includes using the concrete piling superstructure as the basis for a narrower bridge, is $32.6 million.
There is a third alternative we believe may better balance the needs of commuters and the state’s financial realities, albeit as a comparatively new consideration that as yet has no price tag. Aside from cost, it would also appear to satisfy the needs of pedestrians and bike riders. That alternative would be to eliminate the General Sullivan Bridge and add a bike/pedestrian path as another new lane to the southbound Little Bay Bridge.
On Tuesday, a spokesman for SABR, a 26-year-old advocacy group for bike riders, said that what ultimately happens with the old bridge is less of a concern to the group than making sure bicycle access is maintained through whatever construction ultimately occurs.
We understand that in order to move the process along, New Hampshire had to provide assurances to the federal government that the General Sullivan would remain in some way over Little Bay.
The General Sullivan is considered a historic landmark. It is one of the highest rated historic bridges in the state, eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and identified under federal regulations as a highly valued Section 4(f) resource. As such, the U.S. DOT Act of 1966 protects significant publicly owned parks, recreational areas, wildlife and waterfowl refuges and public and private historic sites.
But, to the best of our knowledge, Washington plans to provide nothing in the way of financial support to rebuild the General Sullivan either in whole or part as the costs of saving the rusting structure have escalated sharply from estimates as comparatively low as $26 million only four years ago.
Surely, we would like to see the General Sullivan continue to serve the region in some fashion. It is hard to imagine crossing Little Bay without seeing the old soldier standing at attention. Unfortunately, New Hampshire has a long list of red-listed bridges and roads in desperate need of repairs. Planners and the Legislature must look at needs instead of wants to keep all of our well traveled roads and bridges safe.
Its a modern welded truss bridge. It was going to be ugly no matter what they did. The variants in appearance are just a little icing on the cake. They got exactly what they asked for: a modern, non-historic truss bridge. Those come with an automatic extra-strength dose of UGLY. If they didn't want that, they should have preserved what they had, or relocated and preserved a different historic bridge, or if for some reason they were insistent on all-new construction, they could have contacted Bach Steel for fabrication of a true replica riveted truss bridge.
Save the Sullivan Bridge
January 04. 2018 9:12PM
To the Editor: In this day of increasing congestion, obesity and climate change it seems like those who choose a means of transportation that mitigates all three should be promoted and encouraged by every means possible.
Walkable, cycling friendly towns are overwhelmingly where people want to visit and to live. Portsmouth and the Seacoast area is Exhibit A for this very reason. Developing and building out the areas non-motorized infrastructure fits in perfectly with this. But what is still missing is a way to link everything together. And the centerpiece of this network is the General Sullivan Bridge. The General Sullivan Bridge is unique in that it is the only means of accessing the Seacoast from points west (and vice versa) for non-motorized transportation. There is no other route.
An active transportation network that is safe and easy to use would attract more users and (especially) young people who are looking for alternatives and have shown a disdain for automobiles. (See Amazon’s recent requirements for siting their second headquarters.) Plus, it would work in a huge way to mitigate the most obnoxious negative effect of our rapid growth — cars. A person on a bike is a car off the road. We need more people on bikes. But first we need a path to ride on — or a bridge!
As it stands today the rusty, collapsing, neglected, use-at-your-own-risk, General Sullivan Bridge is the perfect metaphor for the state of active transportation in New Hampshire.
A bridge too far: $32 million for pedestrians and bikes
Union Leader EDITORIAL
December 13. 2017 12:10AM
If the General Sullivan Bridge connecting Newington and Dover didn’t exist, would New Hampshire transportation officials propose spending $32 million to build a new bridge for pedestrians and bicyclists?
We very much doubt it.
During a presentation in Portsmouth touting a proposed toll hike, DOT officials cited the Sullivan Bridge project, which would refurbish the bridge for the approximately 500 walkers and bikers who cross the span each week. The project is already in the DOT budget, and is scheduled whether or not tolls increase.
The DOT got a little overzealous trying to sell Seacoast residents on the goodies they’d receive if the Executive Council went through with a plan to hike tolls up to 50 percent.
The Sullivan Bridge has long outlived its usefulness. Supporters of sprucing up the Sullivan are confusing old with historic. The bridge hasn’t carried vehicle traffic in three decades. It is an eyesore, and the U.S. Coast Guard considers it an obstruction to navigation.
Tearing the bridge down and replacing it with a similar structure would cost even more. But why must the aging bridge be replaced with something similar to cater to a handful of people?
If the Executive Council believes that a lightly-travelled footbridge is such a high priority for New Hampshire’s transportation infrastructure, the state should find a more cost-effective way to achieve that goal.
$32M bicycle and pedestrian crossing to move forward with or without toll hike
By KIMBERLEY HAAS
Union Leader Correspondent
December 11. 2017 12:53AM
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that work on the General Sullivan Bridge will be sped up by a proposed toll increase. A spokesman for the state Department of Transportation said the work is already budgeted, and construction on the $32 million project will go forward even if the Executive Council does not approve the toll increase this month.
Officials from the New Hampshire Department of Transportation say a $32 million project to allow bicyclists and pedestrians to continue crossing the long-defunct General Sullivan Bridge over Little Bay will remain on track even if tolls do not increase.
The state is currently widening the adjoining Little Bay Bridge from two lanes to four lanes in each direction to alleviate rush-hour backups. But there are no plans for access to bicyclists and pedestrians on the stretch of the Spaulding Turnpike connecting Newington and Dover.
Approximately 500 bicyclists and pedestrians used the General Sullivan Bridge weekly in counts performed in July 2016, according to New Hampshire Department of Transportation Chief Project Manager Keith Cota.
State officials recognize the cost of the bridge project is high, but it has been argued the General Sullivan Bridge is a historic landmark. Cota said the structure is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
The bridge opened in 1935 and has been closed to vehicular traffic for three decades.
Construction on the General Sullivan Bridge is planned as the final part of a $260 million major capital project on the turnpike in Dover and Newington. It is slated for fiscal years 2019 to 2022, according to a slide presentation by Deputy Commissioner Christopher Waszczuk during a public hearing in Portsmouth last week.
Bill Cass, the assistant commissioner and chief engineer for the NH DOT, said the department is looking into the most cost-effective option of partially removing and replacing the bridge with a like superstructure.
The state has committed to rehabilitating the bridge under the National Environmental Policy Act, Cass said.
“We have reopened the NEPA process and we are engaging stakeholders in that dialogue,” Cass said.
A complete bridge removal and replacement has an estimated construction cost of $43.7 million. The partial removal and replacement plan will cost $31.7 million and is the cheapest of all alternatives, officials have said.
The U.S. Coast Guard advised the state years ago to remove the General Sullivan Bridge, saying it no longer functions in the manner originally intended and is an obstruction to navigation, according to the NH DOT website.
Jeffrey Stieb, a bridge management specialist at the U.S. Coast Guard, said Friday the Coast Guard will work with the state on the General Sullivan Bridge plan, so long as the needs of vessel navigation are met.
Update on the bicycle bridge project.
December 15. 2017 12:10AM
Hooksett pedestrian bridge work wrappping up for winter
By Melissa Proulx
Union Leader Correspondent
HOOKSETT — Work on the new pedestrian bridge in town will wrap up for the winter, even while a solution to mismatched sections of the bridge is still being sought.
Town Administrator Dean Shankle said work will shut down for the winter once crews finish installing the sewer line. Some of the work will include finishing off the walkway and installing the waterline.
The northern span of the new Lilac Bridge is a different shape than the other two. The steel beams, in general, are thinner and the diagonal ones go in the opposite direction of the ones on the other two spans. There also appears to be a height difference between the spans.
Work was temporarily halted when officials became aware of the difference. Though work started up again, an escrow account was created back in October.
“...When the resolution comes to terms and everybody agrees, then we can issue the payments,” said Finance Director Christine Soucie.
Over the last few months, Shankle has been working to find a solution to the problem.
“We were hoping to have more info back on what the cost would be to make it so it’s all the same size,” Shankle said. “We don’t have those numbers yet.”
The new footbridge will cross the Merrimack River and mirror the shape of the former Lilac Bridge. It will connect Merrimack Street to Riverside Drive near Robie’s Country Store. In all, the entire project is expected to cost about $3.3 million.
This will delay the opening of the bridge as well, which was supposed to be sometime in December. Shankle said work on the bridge should resume in the spring.
Shankle said he has been in touch with the engineering company — Dubois & King, Inc. out of Laconia — about the mismatching pieces, and was told the span was built according to standard processes.
The engineering firm was the one that got the final renderings of the bridge from the design company. Shankle said town officials have also been in touch with that company, who said it was built according to standard process.
Town councilors said that something should be done to fix the problem.
“We don’t want the bridge to be a trivia question for the next 100 years,” said Councilor Marc Miville.
My letter to the Union Leader making light of the selectmen's dilemma.
November 05. 2017 11:39PM
Live with it, Hooksett
To the Editor: So Hooksett officials are squawking and balking over their new bicycle bridge. They don’t think the north span fits in with the other two spans.
Live with it. History is not on their side. The original Lilac Bridge, a heritage bridge, lost a south span to the Flood of ‘36. It was replaced with a slightly different looking span. Nobody carped then. They were made of sterner stuff.
Does the new bicycle bridge look ridiculous? A little, when one considers the grace and beauty of the original demolished. But this is the appropriate result of a bum decision.
Dissident opinions surface with the new bicycle bridge replacing the heritage span. http://www.unionleader.com/article/20171110/OPINION04/171119...
Town selectman disappointed with new bridge. Said it looks a lot different than what the sales representative promised. http://www.unionleader.com/Hooksett/Lilac-Bridge-constructio...
Literally, up from the ashes! http://youtu.be/dbn8ZhP7UGA?a
And the WW&F is still working to raise abutment money https://fundrazr.com/NarrowBridgeAhead?ref=ab_5GWwLW8Nen95GW...
Well I'll be! I'd be curious if it was still lurking there since the entire segment of road was abandoned. Next time I make it down to Rockingham County I'll make sure to check up on it.
Bing aerial shows a gap (until you zoom in and get trees). It looks like it's gone.
The 2004 NBI gives coordinates near the end of Folsom Mill Lane. This bridge was dropped from the NBI after that.
I concur Royce, I can't find anything to line this up with either. I'd opt for junking the entry.
There is no Black Hill Road near the area. There are only two roads crossing The Pawtuckaway River. Ghost bridge?
..................obviously, but which category ?...........
This was a fascinating bridge to visit, as this had signs of quite a interesting past. Originally built as a 2 span bridge, when its central pier was washed out in the 1890s it had a arch added and became a single span. It looks like they also rebuilt the truss to make this work, as the compression members in the middle of the bridge were turned around so they would appropriately transfer the load as a single span, instead of being its designed 2 span. When the arch was deleted and the pier re-added in the 50's they re-corrected the compression members, restoring it to a 2 span orientation. You can see signs of this in photos 45, 46, and 47, where empty slots indicate that the diagonal compression members in the middle panels were previously oriented in the opposite direction.
Update. Some in Hinsdale, NH, including a budget committee member support demolition.
Update. Hooksett town officials upset over design of replacement bicycle bridge, noting North Span differs from other two. They are not apparently students of history or they would have known the Storis designed bridge lost a span during the Flood of 36, and the replacement looked slightly different. The bicycle bridge is seen by many as the culmination of their years of public service and is a source of pride.
Happy to tell everyone that the bridge was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in July of 2017, and the Town of Milford is planning a complete overhaul (under supervision of the State Historic Preservation Office). Milford is in the Freedom's Way National Heritage Area, and this bridge is listed among potential National Historic Landmarks for its rarity.
They used that "too dangerous to allow workers on the bridge to repair it" excuse to demolish this bridge's "sister span" over Lake Champlain in New York and Vermont. However, with the Lake Champlain Bridge, the reason for this excuse was due to substructure (pier) deterioration. It is not clear that this New Hampshire example suffers from the same type of deterioration. Sadly though this country seems to place little value these days on having its elected officials make truthful statements, instead rewarding those who make bombastic statements.
In what shouldn't come as any surprise given NH's recent war on metal truss bridges, even this early and iconic example of a continuous arch bridge is now under threat, with possible replacement on the horizon for 2019.
My favorite part of the article is the state senator quote of “When they were first talking about restoring the bridge, the cost was about $30 million. Now, it is up to about $42 million. Also, the bridge is in such bad shape that the work will be dangerous to the people hired to do it.”. Amazing how not fixing the problem and continuing to allow it to rot increases the cost of fixing it. Sadly it sentiments like this which allow so many bridges to be lost.
On October 4, 2017, the bridge timbers were relocated from Gorham, NH to Alna, ME so that the reconstruction and assembly of the Moose Brook Bridge can begin at the WW&F. For updates, and to contribute to the effort, please visit https://fundrazr.com/NarrowBridgeAhead
Fundraising for the reconstruction of this bridge is underway. For details on the project and to contribute to the cause, please visit:
Very cool! I knew the WW&F were looking and wondered what they would choose. Looks like an interesting selection!
Its a little sad to see this one moving out of NH and not being able to be restored for trail use on the PRRT, but on the other hand its a very exciting prospect for this to be restored for actual railroad (albeit narrow gauge) use. I'll definitely make the haul up to Wiscasset for this one
Yes, you are correct, however the Wisconsin bridge is kind of in it's own category with regular sloped end posts that seems to have vertical end posts tacked on so that the tension members could be evenly spaced. I don't know the history or detail of the Ohio bridge.
My thought is that vertal end posts, as a standard design element, largely disappeared together with cast iron main structural elements around 1875. I consider the three I listed as closer to the remaining Fink and Bollman through trusses than the other two you listed. I'm not sure how to differentiated them. Maybe we call them 'first period' or something else to distinguish them.
We may be splitting hairs, the important thing is to celebrate this bridge's existence. I'm curious about it's history. I suspect it didn't start it's life at it's present location.
BTW, there is at least one 'first period' (by my definition) American made, vertical end post Whipple in existence outside the US.
A very impressive and utterly shocking find! Is this bridge available? Who owns it? As Art suggests this is an exceedingly rare bridge... although my count of vertical end post Whipple's (even if we exclude the in-storage Mead Avenue Bridge) is at least four including this one. The others that come to mind are: Riverside Avenue Bridge in CT, Ellis Bridge in Ohio, Dunnville Bottoms Bridge in Wisconsin.
Great find Michael! Love the Ribbon-lacing of the lower chord!
You're on quite a roll, wow! This it the third vertical endpost Whipple known to still exist in the US and the oldest! One each: Phoenix Column, Keystone Column and cast iron column!
Another day another 1860's bridge..Did I really just say that? Think Roberts WOW just WOW is appropriate .
Here is another significant Coös County Bridge. This is quite early for a fully riveted truss bridge, a testament to the innovative nature of the Boston Bridge Works. Its certainly among the oldest riveted bridges nationally. Its also a very early (oldest extant?) example of a Baltimore truss. Tied together, these two facts make this bridge historically and technologically significant.
Aside from that though, its quite a visually appeasing bridge. All members are built up boxes on the truss web, giving it a airy and intricate look. Given the light traffic of the NHCR this bridge should be safe for the time being
Thank you all! I too share the amazement in these finds, especially since they had managed to evade any sort of historical documentation over the years. These bridges are incredibly significant on a state, regional, and national level, so it still shocks me that no one knew about them!
Coös County turned out to be quite a treat, as there were several significant undocumented bridges aside from the already documented, but noteworthy, ones. Its a good reminder that not all the good bridges have been documented yet...There are still treasures to be had :)
I guess I now have a reason to visit New Hampshire. The 3 railroad trusses near this location are absolutely gorgeous. Nice work!!!