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Sanderson Covered Bridge is back in business
by Ed Barna, Rutland Herald Correspondent

BRANDON, July 31, 2003 - The Sanderson Covered Bridge over Otter Creek, a link between Brandon and Sudbury, has reopened for traffic after 14 years.
Sanderson Bridge. Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 19, 2003
Sanderson Bridge.
Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 19, 2003
       During the past year, the 163-year-old, 132-foot structure has been overhauled by Blow & Cote Construction Co. of Morrisville. The project has been characterized as more of a bridge replacement than a repair job, with only a few of the original timbers and planks remaining.
       Voters decided at town meeting to rebuild the bridge rather than pay the high archaeology costs necessary to establish a new road to a new crossing and a modern bridge. Thus the span has been reinforced with glue-laminated timbers to carry up to 40,000 pounds.
       Town Manager Michael Balch said at a Select Board meeting Monday that the posted limit will be 24,000 pounds, but he will issue permits for heavier vehicles to cross as necessary.
       Selectman Richard Baker urged that improved signs be posted at the west end, where motorists come upon the single-lane bridge very abruptly. Balch said he would try to get stronger warning signs put up, but said "it really is the state's responsibility."
       He said if there is an accident, "we want it to be the state's liability, not the town's."
       Some sort of official ceremony will be conducted later to take note of the bridge returning to use after being closed on state orders for 14 years, Balch said.
       A temporary bridge, on two large steel girders, has carried traffic during that time.
       Balch said the final bill for the work has yet to come from the state, but Brandon will pay 5 percent of $1.2 million to $1.3 million, or $60,000 to 65,000.
       Federal money obtained by Sen. James Jeffords, I-Vt., for covered bridge repairs will cover $450,000 of the cost, Balch said.
       Also, the Stone Mill Dam Bridge Road off Route 73 east was reopened following bridge repairs.

[This article first appeared in the Rutland Herald, Rutland, Vt., Aug. 1, 2003. Ed Barna is a member of the Vermont Covered Bridge Society and author of the book Covered Bridges of Vermont, Countryman Press, and - Ed.]

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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267,
This file posted August 5, 2003, revised August 22, 2003