sayre jligonBack to Archives.
June 11, 2007 - Hi Joe. The 1839+ Sayre's Bridge in Thetford Center has been receiving some minor reconstruction work since April. We have removed the old deck and siding. The *historic* since 1963 steel beams are being sandblasted and repainted brown instead of green. The steel beam ends have a ½" vertical bow in the web where they were failing. Six foot long plates have been added per state design to correct that issue.
The south abutment was lifted off the bearings, and the concrete cap has been replaced. The steel beams are set back down on the new concrete. The old timber structure is independent of the traffic deck, and will be set fairly level later in the project. Previous improvements to the bridge were done without addressing the existing sag in the timber structure. This includes a new roof system, which we aren't allowed to disassemble. We will raise the mid-span to as level as we can without popping the new roof.
An issue still being discussed is the vertical clearance at the portals. The state wants a 13'-0" clearance to the portal tie beams, and then straight-line the chords. That's not a problem to do. But the independent steel beams have quite a camber to them which raises the travel deck upwards to mid-span. The problem for high trucks is that if they clear the portals ok, they will take out the tie beams in the center of the bridge, which they have done for years. One log trucker even chain-saw notched the tie beams so that he could fit through the middle of the bridge! Many of the tie beams have been replaced because of that problem. Since our contract was awarded, another two tie beams at mid-span have been hit and need to be replaced as an extra.
Anyhoo, the bridge will again be open to traffic by the end of September.
Best regards- Jim
Photos © 2007 Bob Brown, Thetford, used by permission
Text and captions by Jim Ligon