BARTONSVILLE, Vt. (AP) The Bartonsville covered bridge over the Williams River, made famous in an online video showing it swept downstream during Tropical Storm Irene, came to symbolize the destruction Vermont suffered during the storm’s brutal passage through the state last August.
Now, the covered bridge is being rebuilt, one beam at a time. Huge pieces of lumber that were shipped in from across the country to be assembled with modern power tools, but the design and techniques would be recognizable to the engineers who built the span in 1870.
There are other changes, too: The old bridge was 152 ft. (46 m) long, the new one 168 ft. (51 m). The 1870 bridge was made with timber cut from local forests. The wood in the new bridge comes from the Pacific Northwest.
And the floor of the new bridge will be made from laminated lumber designed for strength and durability that was unavailable 140 years ago.
Construction workers began assembling the trusses in late September. One side was flipped upright and the other side built. The roof followed next.
Once the walls and roof are complete, the temporary bridge in the Bartonsville neighborhood in the town of Rockingham will be removed and the new covered bridge moved into place so work crews can build the road surface. The bridge is expected to open to traffic early next year.
For residents, preservation of a classic Vermont scene was paramount. Within hours of the destruction of the old bridge, townspeople were talking about the need to build a new covered bridge and refusing to settle for a modern span of concrete and steel, said Susan Hammond, the Bartonsville native who shot the video.