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The N.H. Department of Transportation has ordered the closing of the Christian Hill Road Bridge in West Swanzey because of critical bridge deficiency. (COURTESY)

DOT orders bridge closure in West Swanzey

SWANZEY — The N.H. Department of Transportation has order the closing of the Christian Hill Road Bridge in West Swanzey due to critical bridge deficiency.

The town was told in a letter Monday morning, Swanzey Town Administrator Shane O’Keefe said Tuesday.

“There is widespread severe decay to the timber stringers, bearing blocks, pier caps, and deck,” DOT engineer William Watson said in the letter. “It is in need of a complete replacement or extensive rehabilitation to carry all legal loads.”
The bridge is listed on the state’s Red List, but the ordered closure wasn’t expected, O’Keefe said.

“It was surprising that it came when it did,” O’Keefe said. “We know that there were some issues with the bridge over the years, and the department does inspect the bridges in town every few years.”
The closure affects about two dozen homes, O’Keefe said, but the alternative routes only add about an eighth of a mile to commutes in and out of the neighborhood.

“There are other roads that allow people to get access elsewhere in the community,” he said.
O’Keefe said there are no plans in place to rehabilitate the bridge.

“This just happened yesterday. We need to discuss it with our board of selectmen and make of decision of when and if to repair the bridge,” O’Keefe said. “There are other Red Listed bridges in town that have no detours, so we need to looks at our infrastructure and prioritize.”

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