2 votes

Lilac Bridge



Opened for traffic in 1909, this bridge is New Hampshire's only surviving example of a threespan High Pratt truss bridge. Rename the Lilac Bridge in 1997.

Photo taken by David P. Timmins

BH Photo #125684

Street Views 


Explosion video

Play video on YouTube


Lost through truss bridge over Merrimack River in Hooksett
Hooksett, Merrimack County, New Hampshire
Superstructure replaced with new modern truss footbridge reusing original piers
Built 1909; South span destroyed & replaced 1936; Bypassed in 1976; demolished July 2017
- American Bridge Co. of New York (Fabricator)
- Horseheads Bridge Co. of Horseheads, New York (Steelwork erectors)
- John Williams Storrs (Designer)
- United Construction Co. of Albany, New York (Contractor)
Three-span riveted Pratt through truss
Length of largest span: 170.0 ft.
Total length: 490.2 ft.
Deck width: 18.7 ft.
Vertical clearance above deck: 15.4 ft.
Also called
Hooksett Village Bridge
Approximate latitude, longitude
+43.09578, -71.46334   (decimal degrees)
43°05'45" N, 71°27'48" W   (degrees°minutes'seconds")
Approximate UTM coordinates
19/299525/4774396 (zone/easting/northing)
Quadrangle map:
Manchester North
Inventory number
BH 24983 (Bridgehunter.com ID)
Inspection report (as of September 2009)
View more at BridgeReports.com

Update Log 

  • June 8, 2022: New photo from Geoff Hubbs
  • August 26, 2020: Updated by Nick Boppel: New pedestrian footbridge built at same location, so not "removed without replacement"
  • March 19, 2019: New photos from David P. Timmins
  • November 8, 2017: New video from Clark Vance
  • July 7, 2017: Updated by Alexander D. Mitchell IV: Bridge demolished July 7, 2017
  • April 8, 2016: Updated by Michael Quiet: Updated builder info
  • July 28, 2015: New photo from Royce and Bobette Haley
  • June 11, 2015: New photos from Royce and Bobette Haley
  • May 29, 2015: New photos from Royce and Bobette Haley
  • July 7, 2014: New Street View added by Ralph Demars
  • May 22, 2012: Updated by Will Truax: Added design engineer
  • September 11, 2011: New Street View added by J.P.
  • October 13, 2009: Updated by C Hanchey: Bridge is also known as the Hooksett Village Bridge
  • October 11, 2008: New photos from David P. Timmins

Related Bridges 


  • David P. Timmins - grumpytimm [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Hooksett's Lilac Bridge listed on State Register - New Hampshire Banner news article.
  • C Hanchey - cmh2315fl [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • J.P. - wildcatjon2000 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Will Truax - Bridgewright [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Clark Vance - cvance [at] dogmail [dot] com
  • Royce and Bobette Haley - roycehaley111 [at] yahoo [dot] com
  • Michael Quiet - mquiet [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Alexander D. Mitchell IV
  • Nick Boppel - nickboppel01 [at] gmail [dot] com
  • Geoff Hubbs


Lilac Bridge
Posted June 7, 2018, by Jamie (J [dot] Flanders [at] comcast [dot] net)

$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.

Lilac Bridge
Posted January 10, 2018, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

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.

Lilac Bridge
Posted January 7, 2018, by Steve Lindsey (stevelindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

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.

Lilac Bridge
Posted January 7, 2018, by Steve Lindsey (stevelindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

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.



Lilac Bridge
Posted January 6, 2018, by Luke


Lilac Bridge
Posted January 6, 2018, by Steve Lindsey (stevelindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

Dissident opinions surface with the new bicycle bridge replacing the heritage span. http://www.unionleader.com/article/20171110/OPINION04/171119...

Lilac Bridge
Posted January 6, 2018, by Steve Lindsey (stevelindsey60 [at] hotmail [dot] com)

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...

Lilac Bridge
Posted October 21, 2017, by Anonymous

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.

See: http://www.unionleader.com/Hooksett/Lilac-Bridge-constructio...

Lilac Bridge
Posted July 8, 2017, by Tony Dillon (spansaver [at] hotmail [dot] com)

I'm feeling nauseous...

Lilac Bridge
Posted July 8, 2017, by Michael Quiet (mquiet [at] gmail [dot] com)

Another success for New Hampshire's war on the legacy of John Storrs. With this we're pretty much down to the Anna Hunt, which will be coming up for replacement in the next few years http://bridgehunter.com/nh/cheshire/12500410004000/

Given how things are going I'm getting much less optimistic about the possibility of preservation.

This is a loss on several other levels, as an increasingly rare multi-span through truss, a rare product of the American Bridge/United Bridge duo, and as a survivor (2/3rds anyways) of the flood of 1936.

Lilac Bridge
Posted April 8, 2016, by Michael Quiet (MQuiet [at] Gmail [dot] com)

A long but incredibly thorough and comprehensive study of the bridge, including a looks at John Williams Storrs (increasingly rare) work.


Also fascinating to find out that its immediate predecessor was a Briggs Truss

Lilac Bridge
Posted April 4, 2016, by Jason Smith (flensburg [dot] bridgehunter [dot] av [at] googlemail [dot] com)

Article on the sale of the Lilac Bridge and the new bridge proposal: http://thebridgehunter.areavoices.com/2016/04/04/lilac-bridg... Bland and tasteless replacement if you ask me...... ;-P

Lilac Bridge
Posted February 2, 2015, by Will Truax (Bridgewright [at] gmail [dot] com)

I somehow missed this, (The Banner is a free weekly handed out at Hooksett area markets) or I would've shared it here. I lived in town as a boy, and this bridge is among my earliest memories.

It's been a bad run of news for the remaining Storrs spans of late.

Lilac Bridge
Posted February 2, 2015, by ArtS (asuckewer [at] knite [dot] com)

That's nuts! That thing is newer and probably stronger than the Lambertville - New Hope bridge.

Can Nels fix it less than the scrap and replace price?


Art S.

Lilac Bridge
Posted February 2, 2015, by Nathan Holth (webmaster [at] historicbridges [dot] org)

$11.5 million to rehab this noteworthy historic bridge and only $3.3 million to reduce it to scrap metal and replace it? Were they planning on painting the rehabilitated bridge in 24 carat gold?!

Lilac Bridge - Slated for Demolishment
Posted February 2, 2015, by Randy Needham (RNeedham [at] AcrowUSA [dot] com)

Town council voted to remove it and replace it with a pedestrian / utility bridge. It is in danger of collapsing into the Merrimack River.


Bypassed Historic Bridge
Posted January 8, 2007, by my name (kara 115 [at] aim [dot] com)

you need to show a picture so i can see what it looks like so i can do my project