Construction work begins on Bow's Birchdale BridgeBy MELISSA PROULX
Union Leader Correspondent
December 11. 2017 8:41PM
BOW — After some delays, work on the Birchdale Bridge is finally underway.
Work is scheduled to be finished by spring at the earliest, according to Town Manager David Stack. Weather will play a key factor regarding the work schedule on the bridge.
“They’re going to try to go as long as they can and get as much done as they can,” Stack said.
Despite the weekend snowstorm, crews were still working on Monday. Right now, they are working on installing the cofferdam, which will control the flow of water while they work on the structure, Stack said.
The red-listed bridge had collapsed in on itself in October after being closed to vehicle traffic for the last two years. No one was on the bridge at the time of the collapse.
The bridge was closed in 2015 after the state said it wouldn’t be able to handle large loads, though people could still walk across it.
The closure made Birchdale Road, which has entrances off Route 13 and Page Road, a dead end from both entrances at the bridge.
“When the state made the recommendation, there was good reason for (it),” Stack said.
Some residents had been opposed to reopening the bridge, due to traffic concerns, citing vehicles speeding through the neighborhood with the bridge was open.
Others said having the bridge operational would make for an easier commute throughout town. But they did ask that wider sidewalks and speed control measures be put in place to help protect those who walk or bike in the area.
The new bridge will be 26 feet long and 33 feet wide, and is being designed by Dubois & King, Inc., a Laconia-based engineering firm. Speed tables will be placed on either end of the bridge in order to address concerns that both residents and town officials have about speed in that area.
The cost of the project is estimated at $833,000, which would cover all the engineering and construction costs. The town could see up to 80 percent of that amount reimbursed from the state in 2025.
Residents also voted to approve $722,000 from the bridge and highway capital reserve fund to be used for the future construction at this past town meeting.