Emergency repairs of the Waitsfield covered bridge are underway this week. Contractors from Northland Construction and Kingsbury Construction anticipate project completion by November 18, according to Town Administrator Valerie Capels.
The two Waitsfield-based companies have teamed up to repair the bridge that has been closed in the months following Hurricane Irene. According to bid documents, Kingsbury Construction estimates that the project will cost $19,761. The contract requires that the bridge be finished by November 30.
Contractors have removed siding from the bridge sides and are doing temporary abutment work in order 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 details 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.
According to the letter, “It is evident that the gravel/sand bar in the river that used to be upstream of the bridge was washed away and reformed downstream of the bridge. This is causing elevated water levels at the south abutment. Until the water level goes back down, we cannot make a full evaluation of the condition of this abutment. We recommend that the town, if possible, push some of the gravel aside so the water elevation comes down to a point where the south abutment is above the water line.”
Dubois and King recommended that the bridge remain closed to vehicular traffic until the bridge and approaches are repaired.
To the south, Warren’s covered bridge, also damaged by Irene, re-opened last week.