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Historic steel bridge needs a new home

This historic steel 80-foot-long pony truss bridge is available to anyone willing to commit to taking proper care of it and to pay for hauling it to a new location. Thought to be long enough to cross the Little River next to Route 3 South in Twin Mountain, the terrain turned out to render it too short for this location, and a new bridge will be built this fall instead. (click for larger version)
August 25, 2010
CARROLL — The historic pony truss bridge that is now resting alongside Route 3 South in Twin Mountain is up for grabs.

The 80-foot-long, 14-foot-wide steel bridge, with an 11-foot-wide travel surface previously spanned the Ammonoosuc River. When it was replaced by a newer structure a couple of years ago, Harold Garneau, a longtime grant-writer and activist in the Twin Mountain Snowmobile Club, believed it could be reinstalled as a snowmobile bridge over the Little River.

This plan did not work out because of the stream's width and difficult stream-bank terrain. Now, Mr. Garneau is looking for a new home for the bridge, he said in an Aug. 17 interview. A new owner would have to agree to conform to the prime requirement of the state Division of Historical Resources: to keep the structure in as good condition or better than it now is.

The bridge needs to be painted and likely at least some flaking lead paint would have to be removed before new coats of paint could be applied.

Originally the bridge was rated as capable of carrying a six-ton load, but it has been downgraded to three tons.

A new snowmobile bridge will be constructed this fall on the west side of the Little River. The bridge is part of an approximately $85,000 Phase I project to create a second snowmobile route — the Twin Mountain Connector — in and out of Twin Mountain to connect to Corridor 11.

"This is the first step in putting in a trail to Haystack Road in Bethlehem," Mr. Garneau explained. Presby Construction of Sugar Hill will construct the bridge this fall. The U. S. Forest Service has already granted permission for the connector as has almost every affected private landowner.

"This connector will give tourism a shot in the arm by increasing access to motels as well as to real estate developments on the south side of the Little River," Mr. Garneau said.

The state Trails Bureau of the Division of Parks and Recreation has been very helpful, and both state grant-in-aid and federal Recreational Trails Program (RTP) reimbursement grant funds have been allocated to the project, he said.

"A 100-ton crane will be on site during the bridge construction project, and it would be an advantageous time for someone to step up to take the bridge to a new location," Mr. Garneau explained.

Technically, the town of Carroll owns the bridge and any future owner would be asked to sign a Memorandum of Agreement with the town, agreeing to take care of it properly.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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