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V.A.O.T. Historic Bridge Committee
Any and all corrections to the following minutes will be made at the 07/19/01 Board of
Selectmen's Meeting and are considered unapproved until then. Corrections will be noted in the
minutes of that meeting.
MINUTES - SPECIAL MEETING OF THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN
JUNE 28th, 2001
NEWFANE TOWN OFFICE
PRESENT: Selectmen: Mike Rohan, Jesse Anderson, Fred Bacon, Lynn Bedell and Richard
Also Present: Neil Daniels of VT Society of Covered Bridges, Eric Gilbertson and Nancy Boone
of Div. for Historic Preservation, Roger Whitcomb, David Hoyne and Warren Tripp of VAOT
Structures Division, Bob McCullough of Historic Bridge Program, Laura Bacon of Conservation
Commission, David Clarkson, John Spicer, Norma Shaken, Myra Fassier, Ellen Darrow, Dan
Darrow - Rep. for Windham-3, and Doris Knechtel, Administrative Assistant.
1. CALL TO ORDER The Special Meeting was called to order at 3:03 p.m. by Chairman
2. VTRANS HISTORIC BRIDGE COMMITTEE Chairman M. Rohan indicated that the town
has been working with the state, in particular Roger Whitcomb of VAOT, on a new-covered
bridge to replace the existing-covered bridge in Williamsville.
The proposal is for the current bridge to be dismantled
and moved to another location. There has been $50,000 allocated to dismantle the bridge. Even
though the Board has discussed various options for the use or relocation of the current historic
structure, the Historic Bridge Committee was asked to attend this meeting to discuss viable
options that may be available for a new location and use of the current bridge.
Robert McCullough, Historic Bridge Program,
presented a document, prepared by the committee, entitled Historic Covered Bridge Preservation
Plan to be used as a guideline. Participation of the town in the process is key. There are five basic
goals that the committee established in developing the plan.
The main goals are to preserve the historic structural
integrity of Vermont's covered bridges to the maximum extent possible and to have them be a part
of Vermont's network of roads. In the event that the bridge is dismantled and stored for future
use, there are concerns that it will never be reconstructed or reused.
There are statutes relating to the removal and
preservation of covered bridges. (19 V.S.A. 316 & 317) If the decision is to repair and
preserve the current covered bridge in the current location, at sometime in the future, the decision
is reversible, whereas if the bridge is dismantled, the decision is final.
There is also the matter of costs and available funding
for whatever decisions are made. The estimated costs to reconstruct the bridge at another
location, according to Neil Daniels, could be as much as $200,000.
Board members spoke of options that have been
discussed for the relocation of the bridge. One would be to have it reassembled at the town
garage site easterly of the current access onto the property, for pedestrian/bicycle use over the
wetland area to connect to the Town Forest hiking trail on the town property. The site is
approximately 1.5 miles for the current bridge location. Another suggestion included for it to go
to the Bennington Covered Bridge Museum, which according to committee, is not a viable
solution at this time.
Members of the Selectboard, the Historic Covered
Bridge Committee and members of the public participated in the overall discussion of the type of
"rehabilitation" of the covered bridge to be considered.
With the current bridge, there are essentially two
bridges, the glu-lams which carry the weight capacity and the historic bridge which carries itself
and the snow load. There was discussion about keeping the current glulam beams, which belong
to the state AOT, within the structure to carry the load capacity. Board members expressed more
than once that they do not want the current glulam system to remain. The glu-lam beams certainly
do not add to the aesthetics and they reduce the amount of light within the bridge. There has been
a substantial amount of money used for the repair and upkeep of the bridge, most recently
approximately $10,000 for new decking. A new covered bridge, which was voted on by the
residents, and designed by the VAOT Structure Division, would have less continued maintenance
costs that a rehabilitation of the current structure.
The priority for the Historic Covered Bridge
Committee is to retain existing materials that have not deteriorated beyond the point of repair.
Existing damage should be replaced with materials of like species, quality and dimensions. There
may be a way to add glu-laminated beams under the structure to obtain the desired weight
capacity of H20 or 40,000 pounds. The state will work on a possible design to repair the current
structure without the current glu-lam beams. The bridge may have to be raised to allow for the
glu-lam carrying capacity to be under the structure as there is limited space between the Rock
River and the bottom of the bridge during high water, especially ice jams.
Work that was done on the repair of the bridge in
1982 destroyed the true historic value of the bridge by the cutting of the lattice work and the
cords. Holes were drilled and more bolts were added to hold the structure together.
The Dummerston Covered Bridge was mentioned as a
structure that is essentially a new structure with very few original materials remaining. It is still
the decision of the town as to the final determination of the method of "rehabilitation" to be used
for the covered bridge, a new covered bridge or the repair of the current structure with a load
carrying capacity of 40,000 pounds to accommodate emergency vehicles, school busses and
town maintenance highway equipment. Costs and funding sources will also be a factor to
A new covered bridge structure and dismantling of the
current bridge is expected to approach the one-million dollar mark, while the "repair" of the
current bridge will be less. The state will prepare cost estimates for the "repair" option. The town
costs for a rehabilitation are 5% of the total cost. The cost to reassemble the current structure on
another site would be an additional cost with some funding sources available depending on the
No conclusions were reached at this time. The Historic
Covered Bridge Committee members were thanked for their willingness to come to Newfane to
meet with the Board on this matter.
(The meeting continues with other business.)
Doris A. Knechtel, Administrative Assistant, Newfane Board of Selectmen, Newfane Town
Office, Newfane Market, Lessing's Family General Store. Williamsville Hall, and South Newfane
General Store & Deli. www.newfanevt.com
Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267, firstname.lastname@example.org
No part of this web site may be reproduced without the written permission of Joseph C.
This file posted February 13, 2002