Snowmobile Club dedicates steel truss bridge

By Barbara Tetreault
The Berlin Daily Sun
January 28, 2016

 

BERLIN – While the historic Paris Road truss bridge has been in use as a snowmobile bridge for over a year, members of the White Mountain Ridge Runners Club took time to formally dedicate the bridge last week.

On one of the few snowy days so far this winter, the club’s Assistant Trail Master Larry Gomes joined by Penny and Steve Binette of Valley Creek Eatery, put up the signs marking the bridge over the Dead River behind the Notre Dame Arena. Smith and Town Printers of Berlin donated the signs, which provide a history of the bridge.

The Binettes have been big supporters of the project, recognizing that the bridge allows access to Berlin businesses over the connector trail from trails at Jericho State Park. The couple presented a final check, bringing their total donation to $3,000.

For over 100 years the truss bridge served as a road bridge, part of that time at the southern end of Paris Road in Stark. The bridge was replaced by the state of N.H. in 2000 and businessman Harley Mason purchased the old truss bridge. The club purchased the bridge from Mason in 2013 to replace the snowmobile bridge behind the arena that was not longer in usable. During the restoration, club members discovered the steel girders were stamped “Carnegie” for Carnegie Steel, which dates the bridge as originally built between 1892-1901.

An article Gomes wrote about the project noted the club had never restored a bridge before and no one was entirely sure how to go about it when the work got underway the following spring. After seeking out advice, the club decided it needed heavy sand blasting equipment to clean and remove rust from the bridge. In the end, it took 14 hours of blasting time and 67 60-pound bags of blast media over three days to do the 45”6’ long and 13’8” wide bridge. After spraying both a primer coat and a finish coat of hunter green rust resistant paint, the next task was to move the bridge from Mason’s gravel pit in Stark, where the work was done, to its new location in Berlin.

Moving day, Gomes wrote, “was one of the most challenging anyone could remember.” The bridge had to be loaded onto a trailer using heavy duty lifting chains and support beans and then the trailer was driven 12 miles to Berlin with an escort truck as well as the transport truck. Behind the arena, the chains and beans were reinstalled so two excavators could lift the bridge and put it in place.

A third excavator on the opposite side of the river was used to pull the bridge across. One abutment was in place and the other was built and the bridge was adjusted and positioned on the abutments. Later the planking was installed and the work was completed in time for last year’s snowmobiling season. Many companies and volunteers donated time, money, and equipment to getting the truss bridge installed.

Companies include Valley Creek Eatery, Ray’s Electric, MG Excavation, Mason Enterprises, Chapman Steel and Demolition, Berlin Water Works, Pro Quip, Sanel, S.L. Logging, Falardeau Construction, and 13 members of the White Mountain Ridge Runners Club.
 

                   

      

The Binette family gathers to install the new signs that are being put up for the historic truss bridge behind the arena.

 


                   

The bridge signs were donated by Smith and Town Printers and reflect the style of the historic bridge.

 

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