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Glen Bridge project complete

April 27, 2011
During a recent Gilford Board of Selectmen meeting, Bob Durfee of DuBois & King announced that the Glen Bridge reconstruction project on Belknap Mountain Road is officially complete.

Glen Bridge, located on a dead end road along Belknap, has been identified as a bridge in need of reconstruction for the past few years.

This mid-fall, D & K completed the reconstruction project, allowing for all forms of traffic to cross over the bridge, which used to have a limited use based on its strength and structure.

Durfee informed the board that he came up with a cost-effective solution to solve the problem, and rather than opting for full bridge replacement at a price of $300,000-$400,000, other options were then assessed.

The second option was to replace the bridge deck, rather than the entire bridge, for $150,000. The third option, and preferred option, was to strengthen the existing deck and open the bridge to local traffic.

"Our solution with the third option was to use fiber reinforced polymer," said Durfee. "This brought the total project cost to $94,021. This includes the town's reimbursement (from the state) of $18,000."

Fiber reinforced polymer is a composite material composed of polymer matrix reinforced fibers, including materials such as fiberglass, carbon or aramid, a heat resistant synthetic fiber. The polymer itself is generally an epoxy, vinylester or polyester thermosetting plastic. While this product is now being applied to bridges, it is also used in aerospace, automotive, marine, and various construction industries.

Now that the bridge deck has been strengthened, Glen Bridge can hold up to 30 tons. With this upgrade, the bridge now meets state standards and can maintain traffic at all times.

"This is the first time this strengthening product (fiber reinforced polymer) has been used in New Hampshire, and even New England," said Durfee. "The University of New Hampshire also made this into a graduate student project. We are still analyzing the actual results from UNH, but feel we have proved our point. We are pleased with this application, as well as the New Hampshire Department of Transportation and UNH."

Durfee said he and his team were even inspired to write and submit a paper to the National Bridge Project in discussion of this new, innovative material and its effectiveness on the Glen Bridge project.

"Congratulations for thinking outside of the box," said Selectman Kevin Hayes in response to the presentation. "The town just hired D & K as the town engineer last year, and we are already reaping the benefits of this."

Gilford Director of Public Works Sheldon Morgan has also worked to improve Glen Bridge over the years, and attempted to keep the bridge aligned with state standards. He thanked Durfee for his "innovative" and "unobtrusive" work during the construction, which left little to no complaints from nearby residents.

During the Board of Selectmen meeting, Morgan confirmed that the Alvah Wilson Sidewalk project is also complete. While a few maintenance issues may need to be addressed in the long run, all construction within the actual contract has been completed as agreed upon.

"We got what we expected out of the sidewalk project so far. Everything that was part of the sidewalk project has been completed," said Morgan.

North Country Environmental
Martin Lord Osman
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