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Gorham Bridge Renovation
[WGN 45-11-04]

Aug. 19, 2003 - The Gorham Bridge renovation is well underway. Rotted upper chord members have been replaced with native spruce, the upper bottom chords have been replaced with southern yellow pine. Lattice planks found by the inspection and marked in the contract drawings for removal were replaced with southern yellow pine, 34 pieces. Twelve others requiring replacement were found by the contractor and replaced with native spruce.
       Most of the truss work is completed except for the lower bottom chords. These will be modified to support the Town's request for a carrying capacity of 40,000 pounds. The lower bottom chords will be replaced with glulam beams. The new floor will be 2" x 6" nail-laminate as before, supported by 10.5"x13.75" southern yellow pine floor beams at 3'5" spacing, replacing 6" x 11.5" floor beams at 1'9" intervals.
       Formerly of corrugated steel, the roof will be replaced with galvanized standing seam metal. The new roof will have an eave overhang of at least one foot, requiring that the original roof rafters be replaced with longer members; the original roof system had no eave overhang, and with the siding cut short of the eaves to provide ventilation, the upper chords and lattice were exposed to the weather.
       All of the knee-braces will be replaced and installed at five-foot intervals instead of ten, and they will be fastened with lags instead of spikes.
       Borings demonstrated that there is very poor soil under the abutments, so these are being replaced with cast-in-place concrete on driven piles. The cast concrete will be faced to give an original appearance.
       Work began in May, 2003 with a completion date in early November. The cost of the project is currently estimated to be $1,243,788. The funds were received from the National Historic Covered Bridge Preservation Program. The prime contractor is Contractors Crane Service of Morrisville, the truss work is being done by Groton Timber Work, and the abutments by H.B. Fleming of Maine.
      The Gorham Bridge is owned jointly by the towns of Pittsford and Proctor. It was built in 1841 by Abraham Owen and Nicholas Powers. It is 114; 2" in length in a single span, using the Town lattice truss. The bridge was rehabilitated in 1956 and again in 1979.

Gorham Bridge. Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 19, 2003 Gorham Bridge. Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 19, 2003
Gorham Bridge stands in a field on the west bank of Otter creek while the new abutments are under construction. Note the cofferdam sheeting in the foreground
Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 19, 2003
The lower bottom chords have been removed. They will be replaced with glulam beams to fill the Town's request for a 20 ton carrying capacity. The new floor will be 2x6 nail laminate on 10.5x13.75 southern yellow pine floor beams.
Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 19, 2003
Gorham Bridge. Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 19, 2003 Gorham Bridge. Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 19, 2003
The multi-color timber shows the different species used in the new work; native spruce, southern yellow pine, and Douglas fir contrast with older timbers.
Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 19, 2003
Bridge fabric, some historic, some from subsequent repairs,
is piled nearby.
Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 19, 2003

[Many thanks to Jason Billings of CCS. He was very helpful in providing input for this article - Ed.]

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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267, jcnelson@together.net
This file posted May 2, 2003, revised August 22, 2003