Pictures and Story by Larry Gomes
A crew of seven volunteers showed up for the seventh trail work day of the season and made short work of redecking a 40-foot bridge on Corridor 19. The crew gained access to the bridge from State Garage Road in Milan and used ATV's and trailers to bring in tools and the crew to the bridge site.
Work on the bridge started a few weeks ago when excavator operator Matt Godbout used his excavator bucket to remove the old decking from the bridge and piled it up for removal. During the last week of August, a crew of 3 shuttled a portable welder, all of the bridge decking and steel bracing to the bridge site. Over the Labor Day weekend, club member Shaun Roy welded new steel cross bracing between the bridge beams. This cross bracing is essential to insure the bridge beams do not fall over if there is a sudden sideways movement by the groomer when crossing the bridge.
The next step involved installing a new wing wall to keep the ramp leading up to the bridge from washing into the river below. (The old wing wall was rotted and had to be removed.)
While one group of volunteers were installing the wing wall, another group got busy removing the old stringers that were bolted to the steel I-beams. Once these were removed, new stringers were bolted on and the deck was put down loose across the bridge. Since the railings from the old bridge were being reinstalled, the crew then had to line up the railing support timbers on the bridge with the railings themselves. The railing support timbers are longer than the bridge decking and they had to be lined up with the railings so railing supports could be fitted to them.
After shuffling the railings around and taking several measurements, the crew was able to get the seven railing support timbers secured in the right place and then the remainder of the deck could be nailed down.
After the deck was nailed, the crew installed runners and then installed railings on the southern end of the bridge. The crew was not able to finish the northern end of the bridge because the north wing wall is rotted and needs to be removed. To give the excavator enough room to take out the north wing wall, the crew decided to leave the north end of the bridge unfinished until after the new wing wall has been installed.
Again our thanks go out to the crew of volunteers who did a fantastic job on this project completed all the work shown in the pictures below in just 6 hours. The crew worked like a well-oiled machine and it was great fun to work with such a motivated and professional group.
Some of the new cross
bracing welded into the bridge beams can be seen in this picture. Without
this cross bracing, the bridge beams were only
being stabilized by the nails in the decking. In this picture, the old wood stringers are still bolted to the steel I-beams.
After being away from the
north country for a couple of years, the head builder of the Jericho Warming Hut
Roger Richard made a one-day trip up to Milan, NH from Millbury, MA to help with this bridge project.
Roger has been unable to come up north because he has been taking care of his elderly parents but it
was great to have him back on the crew with his carpentry and problem solving skills. In this picture,
Roger is working his way across the bridge by standing on the lip of the I-Beam and removing the old bolts
holding the stringers in place.
Richard Dagesse (left) and
Dalton Binette (right) fit some of the railroad ties that are part of the wing
wall that will hold back the dirt
on the ramp leading up to the bridge. Both Richard and Dalton are sophomores at Berlin High School and have worked on
several trail projects with club this year. We are hoping they will be the leaders of the next generation of volunteers that will carry
on the club legacy in the future. We need more young people like them to become involved with the club so the knowledge that has
been acquired by our aging volunteers (some of them were there for the founding of the club in 1972) can be can be passed on to the next generation.
With the south wing wall
complete and the new stringers in place, the crew is just starting to lay the 4"
x 6" decking in place.
From left to right is Club Vice President Mike Godbout, Roger Richard, Carl Bull and Eric Johnson.
Using assembly line
techniques Mike Godbout pre-drills the decking for while Carl Bull inserts nails
in the drilled holes and
Eric Johnson hammers the nails home.
The crew went as far as they
could in rebuilding the bridge. They could not finish the bridge because
they wanted to leave some space
to allow the excavator to remove the wing wall on the far end of the bridge. Once the old wing wall has been removed and a new wing wall
is built, the last few pieces of decking can be nailed down and the runners and railings on the far end of the bridge can be installed.
The excavator will then rebuild the dirt ramps on each side of the bridge and the job will be done.
Heading home at the end of
the work day, crew members catch a ride on the club utility trailer that is
filled with tools.
Left to right is Carl Bull, Roger Richard, Richard Dagesse and Eric Johnson.