By Lisa Loomis
The Waitsfield covered bridge re-opened November 16 after being closed for two and a half months following flooding that rivaled the flood of 1927.
Waitsfield’s covered bridge was damaged and its abutments undermined by flooding from Hurricane Irene at the end of August. The bridge has been closed since the flood requiring detours for residents and travelers alike.
This week, as taxpayers arrived by the dozens to pay their Waitsfield property taxes, Bridge Street and the entrance to the bridge were a hive of activity with bridge repair work underway alongside repairs to the businesses of Bridge Street and amidst work to repave Bridge Street.
Emergency repairs costing $19,761 got underway two weeks ago. Contractors from NorthLand Construction and Kingsbury Construction began working to fix the foundation and structure of the bridge as soon as the town approved the work at the beginning of the month.
Contractors removed and replaced siding from the bridge sides and did temporary abutment work to support the sidewalk in addition to repairing the bridge’s wooden components.
Following the flood, a preliminary inspection of the covered bridge by engineers from Dubois and King indicated that it was “moderately damaged” by the storm.
The assessment letter detailed the damage sustained including a broken upstream arch, damaged diagonal supports, broken and dislodged siding boards and the collapse of the downstream wingwall at the south abutment. In addition, the roadway approach on the village side was undermined and portions of the sub base washed away.