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More about the Hamden Covered Bridge


Hamden Covered Bridge Update - October 10

From: "Phil Pierce"
To: "Joe Nelson"
Subject: Hamden stuff at last
Date: Tue., 10 Oct 2000

Hi Joe - I have attached six photos. They show information related to the one-piece glue- laminated bottom chord and deck units being used. (delivery was in early September):

Hamden chord delivery problem:
Photo taken by Delaware County DPW 1) The bottom chord and deck units are full length - 130 feet! The truck managed to get to this corner about 1/4 mile from the bridge but we had a problem getting around the corner. The far wheels are aligned to fall over a culvert outlet and into a ditch!        →

Hamden chord delivery solution:
Photo taken by Delaware County DPW 2) The solution was to fill the ditch with timber cribbing and continue on (successfully).        →

Hamden unloading chord and deck:
Photo taken by Delaware County DPW 3) The unloading took two cranes due to the length.        →

Hamden unloading chord and deck:
Photo taken, 8/4/00 by Delaware County DPW 4) Some of the chords and deck panels were banded together to make them stiffer to ship. Still pretty limber!        →

Hamden inserting the chord:
Photo taken by Delaware County DPW 5) Threading the bottom chords into place was really much easier this time for the Contractor after his experience on the Downsville Covered Bridge.        →

Hamden inserting the chord:
Photo taken by Delaware County DPW 6) A person helps position the end as it is threaded into place.        →

         As of yesterday (October 9th), the bridge trusses have been completed and the cribbing removed to allow it to set on its corners again! She stands straight, cambered and proud again to regain a single span status once more!
         The roof framing is going in now. Glue-laminated floor beams will go in next week, then the old truss counters will be reinstalled. Then the deck panels and siding. The bridge will be rolled into place without its metal roofing (to avoid any wrinkles during the roll-in).

Hamden Covered Bridge Update - October 1

From: Pat Kane
To: "Joe Nelson (E-mail)"
Subject: Hamden CB Update
Date: Wed, 11 Oct 2000
Good morning, Joe!
        I just wanted to let you know that Bob and I visited the Hamden Covered Bridge on October 1st and the restoration work is coming along quite well. I took some photos and thought you might like to see the progress to date. We are very anxious to see it again in another month or so. Phil told me that they hope to move it back across the water in mid-December. We both want to be there when that happens. What an exciting day that will be! Trish

Hamden Covered Bridge photo taken by Bob
and Trish Kane, Oct. 1, 2000
Hamden Covered Bridge photo taken by
Bob and Trish Kane, Oct. 1, 2000

Hamden Covered Bridge photo taken by Bob
and Trish Kane, Oct. 1, 2000
Hamden Covered Bridge photo taken by Bob
and Trish Kane, Oct. 1,

Hamden Covered Bridge photo taken by
Bob and Trish Kane, Oct. 1, 2000

Hamden Covered Bridge Update - Sept. 20

From: "Phil Pierce"
To: "Wayne Marshfield" , "Pat Kane" ,
"Joe Nelson" , "Dick Wilson"
Subject: Hamden Steel Work
Date: Wed, 20 Sep 2000 19:45:55 -0400

Hi folks - thought I ought to drop a note and clarify that tomorrow, during the delay between the two loads of timber glulam members, the crane which will be there to unload the heavy timbers, will set the temporary steel work over the river that will be used to support the roll-in of the bridge back into position. The steel will be removed afterwards and is not permanent. Please help us get the word out so that we can derail any concerns about it.
        Thanks, Phil

Hamden Covered Bridge Update - Sept. 19

From: "Phil Pierce"
To: "Wayne Marshfield" , "Pat Kane" ,
"Joe Nelson" , "Dick Wilson"
Subject: Hamden long glue-laminated members
Date: Tue, 19 Sep 2000 20:31:50 -0400

Hi folks - just a quick update. The glue-lam members are being shipped on Thursday - first load should get to the bridge by mid-morning. A second load by mid-day.
        The members, being only 130 feet this time, are apparently not a real big deal to haul, yet I plan on following along just for fun.
        Work continues. I will send Joe some updated photos shortly for the web site.

Work Continues on Hamden Covered Bridge

Saturday, August 5, 2000
To: Pat Kane
From: Phil Pierce

Hi Trish
We heard on Wednesday that SHPO made contact with Mike Lynch. Although I have not yet spoken directly with Ken Markunas, he has left a message that confirms that Mike's review included an evaluation of all of the proposed work and they continue to support the project with no further changes. There will be no affect of its listing on the National Register.
        Vindicated! Contrary to the mixed press coverage, I feel that we should focus on the work and can stop worrying about some perceived problem that doesn't exist.

Hamden Bridge interior post going in:
Photo taken, 8/4/00 by Delaware County DPW Hamden Bridge tie beam going in.        →

        Work continues. At this point, they are working from the south end and are nicely started with some replacement members in place. We have determined that a few of the proposed members will not have to be replaced after all. But we have found a few others that are worse than initially determined. We trying to relocate some of the better existing members (scheduled for replacement due to high stresses) for replacement of others in worse condition nearer the center of the bridge where the loads are reduced. Since work continues across the bridge with replacement as necessary, we will not know for some time what the final mixture of old and new will be.
        We the County have installed the steel sheet piling for scour protection of the abutments (which will be cut off lower following installation of concrete between it and the old footings). We have also worked with the Contractor to develop means for reinstalling the bridge using a roll-in procedure. We the County are providing the materials and have installed temporary steel I-shape members to serve as piling at the abutments. The Contractor will be installing the steel grillage structure in the future.

Hamden Bridge side view from west:
Photo taken, 8/4/00 by Delaware County DPW Hamden Bridge side view from west.         →

Hamden Bridge tie beam going in:
Photo taken, 8/4/00 by Delaware County DPWHamden Bridge tie beam going in          →

Hamden Covered Bridge Relocated on Roadway

Monday, July 24, 2000
We are sure that most of you are now aware of the unfortunate accident that happened with the Hamden Covered Bridge in Hamden, NY. It is certainly our hope that all covered bridge societies will pull together and support the Delaware County Department of Public Works, and the residents of the Town of Hamden in their efforts to restore the Hamden Covered Bridge and return it to its original location. We are sure they would more than welcome your words of encouragement, appreciate your positive suggestions, and welcome your support as they try to deal with the recent events and the challenges that will face them in the months ahead. If you would like more information on how to contact them, please let us know and we will be happy to forward e-mail and/or mailing addresses on to anyone interested. The following is an official statement issued by the Delaware County Department of Public Works. We thought you folks might be interested in reading it.
          Pat Kane ( )

Statement from Delaware County DPW Regarding the Hamden Covered Bridge
"Fortunately, no one was hurt, when it could have been catastrophic. Let us start by sharing the roles and responsibilities of yesterday. The Contractor developed the scheme whereby the bridge was to be moved. He retained the Crane company to assist. The County observed, but was not in control. Had we exercised "control" over the work, we would automatically assume all legal liability for any result or injury. Therefore, even should we have assumed that we knew better than the Contractor how to accomplish the action, it was in our mutual interest to allow the Contractor to do his job.

As to the result, the bridge has been relocated on cribbing on the roadway. If you visit the bridge, you can see that it still appears to be a bridge, albeit with some missing components. We believe that the bridge can be rebuilt without alteration of our plans, other than to extend the work to repair the breaks using the same sizes of components and same connection details, as already exist in the plans. The Contractor performs superior work and we are confident that other than seeing more "lighter colored" timber, it will still be the same bridge.

The additional material will probably take some time to obtain, yet work can proceed with the material that he has already ordered and received. It would be difficult for us to predict the completion time - it is too early to guess.

As to what really happened - the load sharing between the two cranes experienced an unexpected load shift for reasons unknown at this time (and will probably remain unclear). The smaller crane was unable to compensate for the shift and had to let go or topple. The operator did a remarkable job at avoiding loss of life and the crane. Beyond this discussion, we can only offer speculation and try to assess blame, but do not think this would be conducive to anyone now. We are most thankful that we avoided a much more serious event. We can repair what happened.

Due to the intense interest of the local community, we are attempting to host a meeting with the State Historic Preservation Office in the very near future to discuss the contract plans, intent, and the ramifications of the accident. We are confident that we have acted prudently as the owner of the bridge and confident that the damage can be repaired without undue difficulty. No one feels any worse about the incident than the DPW officials and Phil Pierce - engineer, Bill Kline - contractor, and John Payne - crane Owner/operator.
          Thank you.

The Hamden Covered Bridge Breaks During Move

Thursday, July 20, 2000
I went to Hamden yesterday [July 19] to see the bridge being moved off the river. It went well for a time. The bridge was over halfway across when it all started to come apart when the near crane began to tip over. When the crane let the tension go on its side of the bridge the bridge broke near the center and landed in the river. I will never forget the sound of that wood creaking and snapping!
         The broken part was sawed off and almost half the bridge was set down in the river. Before I left, the section in the river was lifted out and set on the road. The bridge is now in two sections with lots of broken and splintered wood.
         Dick Wilson

Hamden Bridge move:
Photo by Richard Wilson, 7/19/00
Hamden Bridge move:
Photo by Richard Wilson, 7/19/00

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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267,

No part of this web site may be reproduced without the written permission of Joseph C. Nelson
Photos furnished by Richard Wilson, Phil Pierce, and Patricia Kane. This file updated October 13, 2000