Arena Bridge is No More

June 1, 2014

Pictures and Story by Larry Gomes

Our third trail work day was a picture perfect Sunday - which is an unusual day for our club since we normally only have trail work days on Saturday's.  But a crew of 5 showed up to dismantle the old single wide bridge behind the Notre Dame Arena.

One of our groomer operators, Joe Cote is also a trained welder so he set to work with the club torches cutting away the old welds wherever possible and cutting through the beams when the welds were not accessible.  He did an excellent job with crisp clean cuts, which is not easy to do.  You need the torch to be set perfectly and a steady hand and a sharp eye is required to blow the slag away and keep the cut moving.

Steve Binette and his son Dalton arrived with a large front end loader and started to spread out several loads of dirt that had been donated by the Berlin Water Works.

Once Joe was finished with the Arena side of the bridge, he walked across the beams (great balancing act) and cut the other side of the beams loose.  Joe then brought the welding trailer around to the church side of the bridge and Larry used his tractor to back the welder and cutting torches down the trail to the other side of the bridge. 

Meanwhile Matt Godbout hooked up the chains to the main bridge beams and stood back as the loader easily hauled the beams up the banking and into the Arena parking lot.

Joe finished cutting the beams on the church side apart and Larry used his John Deere tractor to drag them over to the Memorial Field parking lot.  By noon-time, the entire job was done and there was no trace of the old bridge left. 

Here are some pictures from Sunday:

Joe Cote cutting apart one of the main bridge beams.  Joe walked across the wobbly beams several times amazing everyone.


Matt Godbout hooks up a chain to the main beam while Steve Binette looks on.  Joe is getting ready to pull the club welding trailer
to the other side of the bridge with his truck.


Steve lifts the first beam from the bank.  Its a good thing we are replacing this bridge because the wooden beams
 under the steel base were completely rotted.

The first beam and the west end steel base gets dragged up the banking and into the Arena parking lot.


The second beam and east end steel base is next to go.  The remaining steel beams in the lower right hand corner of the
picture were dragged out to the Memorial Field parking lot using a small John Deer tractor.


Our sincere thanks go out to the entire crew for getting this job done safely.  Working around steel and fast flowing rivers is always a challenge but our crew made it look easy!  There is no turning back now.  We need to get the new bridge ready and installed before next fall or there will be no Berlin cross city trail.  Stay tuned as there is much more to come on this project.

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