Andover’s ‘High Bridge’ re-opens on time

By Shawn Cunningham
© 2022 Telegraph Publishing LLC

T bridge replacement project on Weston-Andover Road, a worry for the Andover Select Board for many years, has finished on time and reopened after an 11-week closure.

The town and the construction company held a ribbon cutting on Friday, Nov. 4 to mark the occasion.

Road foreman Charlie Golden, left, and Andover Select Board chair Chris Plumb cut the ribbon to reopen Weston Andover Road. Justin Belden of Belden Construction stands to the right. Photo Provided

The 84-foot long High Bridge over the Trout Brook, west of Horseshoe Acres Campground and just east of the switchback known as the oxbow, was built in 1938.

In 2016, then-Select Board member Jean Peters told Town Meeting attendees that the High Bridge was badly deteriorated and would need work soon. The problem was that it was low on the state’s list of bridge project priorities and if Andover was to make interim repairs it would put the bridge even lower on the list.

In subsequent years, the board asked voters to set aside some of the town’s annual surplus to go to toward the repairs and in September of 2021 the board heard that the bridge would not be scheduled to be rebuilt until 2024.

“It’s really scary,” Andover Road foreman Charlie Golden had said asking that the board make a plea to the state of Vermont to move the bridge up on its construction schedule. A 2018 engineering study looked at alternatives to fix the bridge, but given “the age of the structure, site constraints and current conditions,” the study concluded, the best choice was a full replacement.

Workers put the finishing touches on the High Bridge with one lane open on Tuesday Nov. 8. Photo by Shawn Cunningham

On the morning following that meeting, Town Clerk Jeanette Haight was informed by VTrans Structures Project Manager Carolyn Cota that the project would be moved up to the summer of 2022 and would be advertised at the end of 2021.

You can see the project factsheet with photos of the deterioration by clicking here.

The project – which was budgeted at $2.9 million, was particularly complex because the oxbow curve made it difficult to muster large equipment from the  west side. In addition, replacing the span would require a 77 day road closing – from Aug. 22 to Nov. 4. For most people the closure was a small to moderate headache since Middletown Road could serve as a detour, but getting the word out about that to visitors trying to make a show at the Weston Playhouse was a challenge.

Unlike the Popple Dungeon bridge that Atlantic Construction was weeks late in completing, Belden Construction of Rutland reopened the road on time.

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  1. Raymond Makul says:

    A good job done by all, especially the Andover road crew for maintaining the Middletown Road detour in top condition. Thanks!!