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Work On The Pulp Mill Bridge Nears Completion.
[WGN 45-0-04]

August 14, 2002 - The signs guarding the approach roads to the Pulpmill Bridge that once promised that the bridge would be open to traffic August 9th now announces August 23rd as the big day. Asked about the change, Contractor Paul Ide explained that the town had given them two months to do the work and the work was on schedule. Some delay was caused by the availability of equipment needed to remove some supporting steel-work from under the bridge, said carpenter Don Estes, else the project could have been completed ahead of schedule.
       The biggest problem is that the Towns of Middlebury and Weybridge, with limited funding, let the contract to repair only the center truss. The other trusses need work as well.
Pulp Mill Bridge. Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 14, 2002 Pulp Mill Bridge. Photo by Joe Nelson, J Aug. 14, 2002
Work is nearing completion on the Pulpmill Covered Bridge. This scene will soon be livened by moving traffic.
Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 14, 2002
Kingpost "knobs" thrust down through the newly repaired center truss bottom chord. Note also the new diagonal braces.
Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 14, 2002
       Asked if they had encountered any unforseen problems, Ide replied: "We had to replace a post that wasn't planned on. The biggest hassle is we're jacking up only one truss. The other two are lower, so it's kind of self defeating hanging the other two trusses off this one. To try to push (the center truss) up and maintain any camber is impossible. So what we have really done is succeeded in strengthening the bottom chord, but it still sags. It's kind of weird if you don't do the whole thing at once."
       Will the bridge take traffic safely? "Oh yes, replied Ide. "It'll take traffic. It's way better than it was. There is so much to be done here. Instead of spending 50 years and millions of dollars fixing the bridge piecemeal instead of spending a million just once. A million bucks could fix the whole thing completely."
       What should be done with the bridge? "Take the arches out, which is cheap, also, it's much better for traffic because you'd have a [wider] lane to go through. The arches are dead-load, they can't be doing anything good.. I think what we really need to do is replace all of the chords to the original length, create all of the shear blocks they never had in the first place, and make shouldered joints between chord and post.
       "Basically, build the bridge with the same design but better application. And much shorter distances. With the piers and the short distances between them, it'll be quite good. It'll definitely take the traffic. But you've got to do it all at once, you can't do it in parts."

Pulp Mill Bridge. Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 14, 2002 Pulp Mill Bridge. Photo by Joe Nelson, J Aug. 14, 2002
Note the new kingpost and brace to the right of the west-bound lane.
Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 14, 2002
These steel brackets will hold the western ends of the center arches.
Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 14, 2002

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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267, jcnelson@together.net
Copyright © 2001, Joseph C. Nelson
This file posted August 15, 2002, revised September 18, 2002