Orford bridge

During a public informational meeting scheduled for April 30, 2019, at the Orford Town Offices, representatives of the state Department of Transportation will discuss replacing Orford’s Route 25A bridge over Brackett Brook.

ORFORD — One of the two state-owned bridges on Route 25A that are on the New Hampshire Department of Transportation’s “Red List” of spans most in need of repair will be the subject of an informational meeting.

The meeting will take place Tuesday, April 30, at 7 p.m. in the Niles Room at the Orford Town Office, with NH DOT representatives making a presentation about the reinforced concrete slab bridge that carries east-west traffic over Brackett Brook.

Built in 1929 and last modified in 1979, the bridge, according to the NH DOT, is number 53 on the “Red List” because its deck and superstructure are both rated by the department as poor, although the bridge’s substructure is in “fair condition.”

The engineering firm of Hardesty & Hanover said the bridge, which is 40 feet long and 35.7 feet wide, had been previously identified by the NH DOT as “scour critical,” adding that reports on erosion “predicted a scour depth of 8 feet at the pier during a 100-year storm event.”

In 2017, the bridge experienced two flood events “that caused water to flow over the riverbanks and required emergency repairs to the adjacent road,” Hardesty & Hanover said.

After performing “an initial hydraulic investigation and structural evaluation to consider and compare the benefits of rehabilitation vs. replacement,” Hardesty & Hanover said it concluded that “a bridge replacement would be the most appropriate design solution….”

The NH DOT said in a prepared statement that the informational hearing on the Brackett Brook Bridge is intended to “present citizens and public officials with information regarding the proposed project, and to solicit public input in order to ensure that project decisions meet public transportation needs, community goals, and protect and enhance the environment.”

The Brackett Brook Bridge is less than a half-mile west on Route 25A from the Baker Pond Brook Bridge.That bridge is number 38 on the NH DOT’s “Red List.”

The NH DOT said the deck, superstructure and substructure of that bridge are all in poor condition.