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Haverhill-Bath Covered Bridge [WGN 29-05-04],
Woodsville, NH

Project Update

December 17, 2003 - I am writing to update the covered bridge community on continuing developments regarding the Haverhill-Bath Covered Bridge in Woodsville, New Hampshire.

In May of 2003, Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, Inc. (HTA) submitted 60% rehabilitation drawings to the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT) and the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources (NHDHR).

Since federal funds are being provided for the rehabilitation on this bridge, a review of the proposed rehabilitation is required and is being made under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. NHDHR, working with the NHDOT, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), the consulting parties (National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges, and the Towns of Haverhill and Bath) along with the engineering consultant (HTA) have provided input to outline a rehabilitation plan that will follow the Secretary of the Interior's Standards for the Treatment of Historic Properties.

On December 11, 2003 the NHDOT, FHWA and NHDHR issued a conditional "No Adverse Effect Memo" as part of the Section 106 process which outlines the approach to the rehabilitation that will be followed. Some of the key points of this memo and the direction of the rehabilitation which are different than what I have previously reported include:

  1. Existing stringers of the floor system will be maintained and reused.
  2. The existing floor planks (decking) may possibly be reused or replaced.
  3. In some locations, broken or damaged members, if requiring repair, will be spliced in visible areas and sistered in non-visible areas.
  4. . The existing siding may be reused or replaced.
  5. Contractors bidding on the rehabilitation of the bridge will be prequalified to ensure they have the experience and resources to perform a rehabilitation of this nature.
  6. New timber members in the trusses and roof framing areas will be band sawn in order to harmonize with the appearance of "up and down" saw marks of existing members, yet be distinguishable from the older technology.

Consultation will continue as HTA completes 100% plans and specifications following the requirements of the No Adverse Effect Memo. Our anticipated schedule, subject to funding, is to bid the project to prequalified contractors by April 1, 2004 and award the contract and begin construction by July 1, 2004.

Temporary repairs, which consisted of installing cable bracing on the bridge was performed in February of 2002 to stabilize the bridge from excessive distortion and racking of the trusses which had occurred. While monitoring the bridge this fall, HTA had discovered that the racking and distortion continues and we have recommended additional short-term bracing be installed to stabilize the structure until a complete rehabilitation can be performed.

In summary, the review process for the rehabilitation of this important bridge through the 106 process has reached a stage where we can move toward final design, with construction tentatively scheduled to begin in the summer of 2004.

       Robert H. Durfee, P.E.
       Hoyle, Tanner & Associates, Inc.
       Member, NSPCB

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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267
This file posted December 27, 2003