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Middlebury's Pulp Mill Bridge Reopened. [WGN 45-0-04]
by Irene Barna

The Pulp Mill Bridge reopened Friday, August 23. I had stopped by in early August and spoke with Contractor Paul Ide and his co-worker. Both were quite disgruntled that they couldn't proceed until the necessary repairs were completed because much more work needs to be done.
Pulp Mill Bridge. Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 14, 2002
Work nears completion on the Pulpmill Covered Bridge. This scene will soon be livened by moving traffic.
Photo by Joe Nelson, Aug. 14, 2002
&nsbsp;&nsbsp;&nsbsp;&nsbsp;&nsbsp;&nsbsp; Both craftsmen expressed the wish to remove the 1980s vintage interior arches as they only add to the dead load and do not enhance the structural integrity of the bridge. Paul said the bridge was safe for traffic but more rehabilitation work is needed. Monies, of course, aren't there and the local folks will be angry and frustrated again, in a future year, with disrupted traffic.
&nsbsp;&nsbsp;&nsbsp;&nsbsp;&nsbsp;&nsbsp;This kind of inconvenience to people can lead to hostility which could turn opinions against the value of the historic bridge when it is part of the traffic infrastructure when put up against the convenience of getting from point A to point B. Most don't understand the longevity of a wooden bridge vs. other materials. I spoke with people who, in their frustrations with traffic delays, "Want it moved someplace else".
&nsbsp;&nsbsp;&nsbsp;&nsbsp;&nsbsp;&nsbsp;Unfortunately, Pulp Mill Bridge becomes the scapegoat for the fact that it is one of only two places to cross Otter Creek in this county seat- college community bisected by the Creek. 182 years old and it still takes a lot of traffic.
&nsbsp;&nsbsp;&nsbsp;&nsbsp;&nsbsp;&nsbsp;Poor, valiant bridge. I traveled it yesterday. In evidence are some new timbers and some new decking at the Middlebury end and traffic. Lots of traffic!

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Joe Nelson, P.O Box 267, Jericho, VT 05465-0267, jcnelson@together.net
This file posted September 18, 2002