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HISTORIC BRIDGE PROGRAM
Draft Only - July 7, 1998
This document establishes the Vermont
Historic Bridge Program (the Program) for historic covered bridges, metal truss bridges, masonry
arch bridges, and concrete arch bridges, and it establishes separate divisions within the parent
program. The Program and its divisions call attention to the fact that Vermont's historic bridges
resources of distinct value to the state, with particular benefits and also particular problems. The
Program explicitly recognizes that there are economic, aesthetic, and educational benefits
by preserving a meaningful collection of different types of historic bridges, and that these benefits
outweigh costs associated with preserving these bridges. Reasonably stated, if the benefits of
preserving historic bridges accrue to the people of Vermont, the associated costs necessary to
these benefits are properly assigned to state government.
The Program provides an ideal opportunity to
demonstrate the value of proper maintenance in preserving manageable classes of bridges.
Rehabilitation of those historic bridges capable of serving continued highway use will represent a
considerable cost-savings to the people of Vermont. Adapting those historic bridges no longer
capable of continued highway use to alternative transportation uses, or converting them to
recreational and historic sites, will also produce substantial long term economic. benefits.
Organization of Historic Bridge Program
The Program has been formally established
execution of a Programmatic Agreement dated July 7, 1998, among the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA), the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP), the Vermont
Agency of Transportation (VAOT), the Vermont State Historic Preservation Officer (VSHPO),
the Vermont Agency of. Natural Resources (VANR).. The Program will be managed by VAOT,
which will organize and administer project development for all bridges enrolled in the Program.
Bridges that are eligible for, or listed on, the National Register of Historic Places and have been
identified in an historic bridge preservation plan are eligible for inclusion in the Program. Historic
bridge preservation plans are developed according to bridge type and are complete upon
by FHWA, VAOT and VSHPO.PART 3
State-owned bridges identified by any historic
bridge preservation plan are automatically enrolled in the Program when the preservation plan has
been executed by FHWA, VAOT and VSHPO. Town-owned bridges are enrolled in the Program
according to the procedure described in Part 3.
Approximately 90% of Vermont's historic
bridges are owned by towns, cities, or villages, are located on local roads, and serve local
transportation needs. Collectively these historic bridges represent a vitally important capital and
cultural asset for the people of Vermont. However, while some are superbly maintained and
preserved, others are neglected .and overlooked. It is critical that a well-defined, cooperative
agreement between the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VAOT) and towns owning historic
bridges be implemented if these important resources are to be preserved.
To address this objective and to efficiently
for the long-term preservation of these historic bridges, towns are invited to participate in the
Program. By signature of their governing bodies to a document titled "Historic Bridge
Agreement" (sample copy attached), towns, cities, and villages will enroll in the Historic Bridge
Program. To encourage town participation, VAOT will pay all costs of future rehabilitation or
restoration for bridges that have been enrolled in the Program for continued highway use, subject
the requirements regarding maintenance described in Part 4, herein, and will agree to undertake
work according to the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for Historic Preservation
In return, towns will agree to preserve bridges
have been enrolled in the Program in perpetuity, subject to loss or damage by catastrophe or by
circumstances beyond human control. Towns will signify their commitment to preserve the
bridge(s) by granting an "Historic Bridge Preservation Easement" (sample copy attached) to
Success of the Program will also depend
scheduled maintenance of historic bridges in order to prolong their continued use. Ultimately, too,
sustained maintenance will account for substantial cost savings. To encourage proper
VAOT will establish a bridge maintenance schedule for each historic bridge enrolled in the
To encourage towns and cities to participate in
Program, VAOT will fund maintenance costs for all town-owned bridges that have been enrolled
the Program and that remain in highway use. Periodically, VAOT will remove spot rust, will apply
suitable primer and paint, and will coat-steel at bearing points and at joints with grease. Towns
be required to furnish the equivalent of matching funds by conducting the following tasks, as
appropriate for specific bridge types:
(a) Cleaning bridge components with water or compressed air and removing large deposits of
with hand tools.
(b) Keeping drainage areas free of debris and channeling deck drains and approach run-off away
bridge elements below.
(c) Removing all small trees and shrubs growing in, on, or near substructure units or under the
(d) Removing any debris that accumulates in the channel beneath the structure.
(e) Maintaining proper load posting and advance warning signs and keeping all signs visible.
(f) Maintaining smooth transition between approach roadway and bridge deck, maintaining a
and continuous rail, and repairing minor damage caused by accidents.
VAOT will, develop a mechanism to assure
performance of these scheduled maintenance tasks. Failure on the part of towns to conduct proper
maintenance will result in a reduction of the amount, pursuant to Part 3 herein, that VAOT will
to towns for rehabilitation or restoration of town-owned highway bridges enrolled in the program
from 100% of all costs to 95% of all costs.
Bridge Rehabilitation and Restoration
Success of the Program will depend upon
scheduled rehabilitation of historic bridges. For purposes of this Program, work that qualifies as
rehabilitation or restoration includes, but is not limited to, the replacement of any deck or any
structural members due to advanced deterioration or to less than acceptable load capacity, and full
VAOT will establish a bridge rehabilitation or
restoration schedule for each historic bridge enrolled in the Program, with separate schedules for
bridges that will remain in highway use and bridges that are placed in adaptive use. The schedule
be reviewed annually for those historic bridges that will remain in highway use, and every five
for bridges placed in adaptive use. All work will be conducted according to that schedule. As part
this program, VAOT will pay all costs for rehabilitation or restoration of bridges that will remain
Success of the Program will depend upon a
viable system for preserving bridges that can no longer serve highway uses at their existing
To meet this need, qualifying bridges will be adapted to alternative transportation uses at their
existing sites or will be relocated for either continued but limited highway use or alternative
transportation uses such as pedestrian and bicycle paths, snowmobile trails, recreational sites, or
simply historic sites.
The Agency of Transportation will assume
responsibility for relocating and rehabilitating all historic bridges that can no longer serve highway
uses at their existing locations, including:
(a) Identification of new locations for bridges that will continue to serve highway use;
(b) Identification of new locations and new owners, including the Vermont Division for Historic
Preservation, for bridges that will be adapted to alternative transportation uses;
(c) Providing engineering services for relocation and rehabilitation plans;
(d) Providing annual appropriations to fund the relocation, restoration, and adaptation of bridges
enrolled in the Program to alternative transportation uses. The recommended annual appropriation
will be $500,000, but amounts may vary depending upon yearly requirements and cost estimates.
Eligibility for funding of future maintenance, rehabilitation, or restoration will be evaluated
to policies established by the Adaptive Use Program.
(e) Undertaking any legislative initiatives, whether federal or state, necessary to implement
and adaptive use or to fund relocation and adaptive use;
(f) Undertaking initiatives to develop partnerships with the Department of Corrections to supply
timber for bridge decks and other appropriate materials, as well as labor as permitted;
(g) Providing interpretive markers identifying bridges that have been relocated.
An Adaptive Use Committee will be established
to advise the manager of the Adaptive Use Program about the selection of sites for bridges being
converted to alternative transportation uses at new locations. The committee shall consist of one
representative from VSHPO, one representative from FHWA, and the Manager of the Adaptive
Program, who shall chair the committee and convene meetings periodically as required, but at
Education and Heritage Tourism
Success of the Program will also depend
a viable educational effort devoted to increasing public awareness regarding the benefits of
historic bridges. Accordingly, VAOT and VSHPO will develop a schedule for meeting with town
officials, public works engineers, and district transportation engineers, and will prepare a standard
educational presentation. Seminars and workshops will be coordinated through the regional
commissions. The Historic Bridge Program will be explained at meetings conducted in each
and Bridge Preservation Plans will be distributed to town representatives via regional
Educational efforts will also include promotion
through Heritage Tourism, and a cooperative plan will be developed with the Department of
and Marketing. A map showing the location of all bridges in the program will be prepared and
available for distribution via a variety of possible resources.
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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267, email@example.com
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This file revised March 18, 2002