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Cambridge Junction, April 5, 2001 - With the first phase of the project to preserve the failing Poland Covered Bridge very nearly complete, VTrans Structures Project Manager David Hoyne called an on-site meeting to exchange ideas about plans for the second phase.
        The project's first phase was designed to strengthen the over-stressed bridge and to raise it three feet higher over the abutments to avoid losing the bridge to the expected spring high water.
Poland Bridge. Photo by Joe Nelson
April 5, 2001
From right to left: John Weaver, Mark Canavant, David Hoyne, Bob McCullough, Susan Scribner, Ray Hayes, Warren Trip, Neil Daniels, Matt Holden, Ron Bechard, and Eric Gilbertson.
Photo by Joe Nelson April 5, 2001
         The work on the bridge will be done in two stages under separate contracts, said Hoyne. The first stage will stabilize and raise the bridge to protect it from high water, ice and flotsam. The second stage will restore the bridge to carry light traffic.
        The funds for the work on the bridge came from the $10 million National Historic Bridge Program announced by Senator James Jeffords last August. The $1 million provided for the Cambridge Junction Bridge was received by the Vermont Agency of Transportation in August to be immediately available to allow steps to be taken to ensure that the bridge survived the winter. An estimated $200,000 was earmarked for the first phase of the project; to stabilize the structure against heavy snow load or additional ice damage.
        The first phase was to be complete by March 30. The plans and specifications for the second stage must be complete by September 1. Then the project will be advertised and bid packages sent out to the contractors for a completion date of the following fall. The second phase plans must be completed by September to keep the funding.
        The second phase of the project is to be designed to restore the bridge and open it for light traffic.
        "As you know," said Hoyne, "We have received some money to repair the structure, and the agency also has put together a covered bridge committee, and many of the members are here today. The covered bridge committee is in the process of developing a plan for how to deal with various covered bridges, the various uses, the various treatment options. This is really one of the first few cases where we want to look at the structure and evaluate the repair strategy with this preservation plan we're trying to put in place.
        "I want to open the meeting up to everybody to see how we are going to go about meeting the goals and objectives of this project. You can see by looking at the structure that it's racked laterally, the truss also has a lateral sweep to it. The bottom chord also has a vertical sag.
        "What we are trying to balance here is preserving what we have and at the same time producing a product that really meets the needs. In other words, can we put the shape back in the bridge, can we line things back up, get the camber back, so that we have a project that will meet the needs of the town.
        "The town has decided that they would like light-vehicle load. We are assuming that to be a three ton vehicle . . . the big issue is how do we move forward with the next [phase] of the project, putting the shape back into [the bridge] and just what the extent of the repairs [will be]."
        Hoynes opened the meeting to a free ranging discussion, the opinions and concerns of the attendees were expressed. These will appear here in the near future when the audio tape made of the discussions is fully transcribed.
        The participants were: Ray Hayes, VTrans Resident Engineer; Matt Holden of Daniels Construction; Neil Daniels; Scott Newman, VTrans; Joe Nelson, VCBS; Ron Bechard, VCBS; John Weaver, Materials Engineer, VTrans, Eric Gilbertson, Historic Division for Preservation, Warren Tripp, Transportation; Mark Canavant, Federal Highways, Design and structures engineer; Susan Scribner, VTrans; Bob McCullough, VTrans.

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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267, jcnelson@together.net

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This file posted April 23, 2001