Pictures by Eric Johnson and Rob
Story by Larry Gomes
Members of the White Mt. Ridge Runners snowmobile club started the rebuilding of the bridge under the RR trestle behind Valley Creek Eatery by removing the rotted deck from the bridge.
The core group of 4 volunteers were joined by a local resident who was just walking by and decided to lend a hand for a couple of hours.
The bridge project was supposed to be completed last summer, but was held up by the lack of a State budget and problems in getting the Federal RTP funds released. Once the funds were released two weeks ago, the club did not waste any time in starting the rebuilding project.
The first phase of the project was removing the old deck which has been completed. The second phase involves installing new stringers and supports that can support the installation of rough sawn lumber over the outside of the beams. The steel beams are rusted and have paint flaking off of them so the club wants to cover them so they cannot be seen. The third phase of the project will be installing a new deck with alcoves for seating. The fourth phase will be installing the railings and the benches.
It took the entire day on Saturday to remove the old deck. Thankfully Matt Godbout of MG Excavation had donated his dump truck and this saved a lot of time since we could just dump the load at the recycle center. Our thanks go out to the entire crew for their efforts in getting this big project started.
Here are some pictures taken on Saturday:
Larry Gomes uses his chain saw to cut the decking in half while John Higgins
looks on. Once the board were cut in half,
the crew used steel bars and large crow bars to lift them off the stringers. The pieces were then hand carried to the dump truck.
Rob Gomes came up from
RI to help with the project. He turned some plastic tubs into a makeshift
bench that he used to pull nails out of
the runners that were still good. This lumber was used to build staging inside the bridge. It will also be used to build the framework to hold the
rough-sawn lumber along the outside of the beams.
Eric Johnson and Larry use bars to lift up the old decking. Jeff (in red) was walking by and decided to help.
He uses the bridge a lot and wanted to lend a hand in the rebuilding process.
As the deck was removed,
Rob cut up some of the old lumber to span between the beams. Then runners
were screwed down on each
side to to form temporary staging. This staging was very handy during the deck removal process and will be used again
during the rebuilding process.
The deck was so rotted,
that many timbers were falling apart. The plastic tubs came in handy for
catching most of the debris
to keep it from falling in the river. The tubs were also used for old nails, bolts, etc. that came off the bridge.
John Higgins uses a crow
bar to lift rotted beams while standing on staging that is placed between the
John and Eric unfasten
the bolts holding the stringers onto the beams and get ready to lift them off
Matt's dump truck loaded and ready for a trip to the recycling center.
Finally the old deck is
off. With staging in place, the reconstruction project is ready to begin.