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.
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."
Copyright © 2001, Joseph C. Nelson
This file posted August 15, 2002, revised September 18, 2002