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Damaged on August 28, 2011 during Tropical Storm Irene by the surging floodwaters of the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River, the Loon Mountain Bridge is on track to be entirely replaced within two years, following a land-swap agreement earlier this week between the Town of Lincoln and Loon Mountain Resort. (John Koziol/Union Leader Correspondent)

Lincoln's Loon bridge project advances


LINCOLN — Thanks to a land-swap agreement struck earlier this week between the Board of Selectmen and Loon Mountain Resort, work on replacing the Loon Mountain Bridge over the East Branch of the Pemigewasset River could begin as soon as this winter.

The bridge, which connects New Hampshire Route 112 (the Kancamagus Highway) on the north with Loon Mountain Resort and homes and residential complexes to the south, was extensively damaged on Aug. 28, 2011, when surging floodwaters generated by Tropical Storm Irene knocked out the northern-most section.

The damaged section was subsequently replaced with a temporary Bailey bridge while the town sought a permanent solution. The solution — a full replacement with an estimated price tag of $9 million, 95 percent of which will be borne by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the State of New Hampshire — was moving along with the goal of construction starting this spring.

But because the new bridge has to be built some 100 feet further downstream, the project ran into a delay when it was discovered that Loon Mountain Resort, not the town, actually owned the land that was needed.On Monday, the Lincoln selectmen formalized a swap of several acres of land with the resort and the language is now being drafted by attorneys into a contract that both parties will soon sign, said Town Manager Alfred “Butch” Burbank on Wednesday.

The details of the agreement, including indemnification, “have been ironed out,” said Burbank, who added that once that compact is signed, the project will go out to bid this fall, with construction starting immediately thereafter. Burbank expected construction to last between 18 and 24 months.

He said that as soon as the ribbon-cutting ceremony is concluded for the new span, the old bridge will be razed.

jkoziol@newstote.com

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