Depot Road Over Suncook River
Photo taken by David P. Timmins in February 2009
BH Photo #133368
The bridge, as noted, retains a excellent amount of historical integrity, with no obvious modifications to the bridge. Decorative details common to Berlin Iron Bridges (such as cast iron finials, portal cresting, and builders plaque are all still in place (although one of the builders plaques is a replica, as it was missing at the time this bridge was closed). The truss itself is in good order, although there are a few spots that show signs of stress deflection.
Also of note is the level of work mentioned earlier that has gone into the preservation and maintenance of this bridge. Given that this are usually the biggest obstacles seen to retaining and preserving historic bridges, it is a remarkable sight to see a community take such great care of the bridge. This includes a rehabilitation (with new wooden deck) and painting done when the bridge was converted to pedestrian use in 1981, Rebuilding of the east abutment in 2006, and a repainting of the bridge in 2007. Truly an example of how a community can rally behind a unique and significant historic bridge.
I went to go see this bridge in February 2018, and I was EXTREMELY disappointed.
Despite the fact that the town has spent a lot of time and money restoring this bridge, and despite the fact that the bridge is now designated as a New Hampshire State Historic Landmark, the bridge was inaccessible due to the fact that the area had received a snowstorm the night before.
You would THINK that if the community has put all of this time and effort into maintaining the bridge, that they would also put the much lower effort into keeping the access path open even during the winter when there is snow on the ground. But alas, they do not. They had not plowed the access path AT ALL, meaning that I had to walk through 3 or 4 inches of heavy, wet snow just to take a few long-distance photos of the bridge.
While there is not an official “Bridge closed” or similar barrier, it is obvious that the town does not want the bridge open and in use during the winter months - otherwise they would make a high priority to keep the access path open. As such, the BridgeHunter.com status has been updated to “Closed during the winter” while it remains winter in New Hampshire. I or someone else will change it back to “open to pedestrians” once pedestrians can actually access the bridge.
It could be argued that the bridge is too fragile and/or too narrow to take a snowplow to the structure. Even if this is the case, there are sidewalk plows that are designed to handle narrow surfaces. If this was not adequate, the town should remove the snow by hand. It sounds like a lot of work, but it’s a lot less work than properly maintaining a bridge built over 100 years ago when you could simply tear it down and forget about it. In the worst case scenario, the town should at least install a safety barrier saying “bridge closed” and a town representive should’ve indicated this on BridgeHunter.com. That would’ve prevented out-of-staters like me from traveling quite a distance to see this bridge, only to find it barricaded off by snow.