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System for Over-height Vehicles
The Town of Thetford really values its covered bridges! Not only has the Town contracted to
rehabilitate their Union Village Covered Bridge, the Selectboard has applied for federal funding
for a prototype warning system for over-height vehicles.
Tall trucks and trailers have long been a nemeses of covered bridges, along with over- weight vehicles and powder post beetles--especially the Thetford Center Bridge on Tucker Hill Road where the device is to be prototyped and tested.
Said Mark McMahon, Thetford Selectboard member: "We've had on a regular basis incidents where over-height vehicles clip the bridge. The most recent one was two years ago when a dump truck with its bed up creamed a lot of the rafters. The bridge had to be shut down for about two to three months for repairs.
"What we would like to do is to come up with a solution that will help protect the bridge and still be compatible with the historic and esthetic values of that particular area. We want to come up with a prototype system that other communities with a similar situation will be able to use. We applied for the grant in hope that the federal government would appreciate and see the value in what we are doing and would help us finance this project.
"We're hoping to come up with a solution that the community is happy with that will provide an early warning system to protect the Tucker Hill Bridge. If it works there, we can incorporate it into the Union Village Bridge as well."
The Gerton and Associates engineering firm is working on the application for the grant.
"Certainly the Union Village Bridge and the dynamics of how its located will be a little trickier that the Tucker Hill Bridge," said McMahon.
The Tucker Hill Bridge serves a class 2 highway without a nearby intersection. "That makes it a little more convenient as far as giving you a little more latitude in creating the early warning system whereas the Union Village bridge is accessed from two class 3 roads and just the proximity of how they approach the bridge may make it a little more difficult. We're hoping that the work to be done by the engineers and architects, and meeting with the townspeople, we will come up with a solution that will not only protect both of our bridges but maybe the bridges of other communities as well."
Mark McMahon can be reached through the Thetford Town Office email: firstname.lastname@example.org - Attention Mark McMahon
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