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In close vote, Rockingham board picks new bridge plan

July 9, 2021 GMT

ROCKINGHAM, Vt. (AP) — Officials in Rockingham have voted to replace a deteriorating bridge by building a new one further north.

The Rockingham Select Board voted 3-2 on Wednesday in favor of the $7.2 million plan, the Brattleboro Reformer reported.

A pedestrian bridge will be built where the current Depot Street Bridge is after it’s removed.

The board had rejected moving the bridge location two years ago as too costly. The Vermont Agency of Transportation then found serious financial consequences with rebuilding in the current location, prompting another round of designs and review, the newspaper reported.

The bridge will link traffic to the island, an area carved out more than 200 years ago by the construction of the Bellows Falls Canal, and take up some of Centennial Park. Local officials hope the island will become a center of redevelopment and job creation.

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Board member Peter Golec said the town couldn’t afford three bridges crossing the Bellows Falls Canal, saying the level of truck traffic didn’t warrant the more expensive bridge.

The Bridge Street Bridge near the Bellows Falls Post Office handles most of the traffic and is due to be replaced in a few years because of deterioration.

Board members Richard Cowan, Bonnie North and Elijah Zimmer said the bridge in the new location would be built to last for the next 50 years.