MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) If a sagging covered bridge in Lyndonville collapses into the Passumpsic River, some officials fear it could dam the stream and generate flooding. But state public agencies say there’s not much they can do about the worsening condition of the privately owned bridge.
One of two main support beams underneath the 120-ft. (36.5 m) bridge has broken, creating a sag that in turn has triggered a similar break in a roof beam above.
State Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, is one of those raising alarm about the condition of the now-closed bridge. If it were to collapse, he said, it "would probably dam up the river" and "send the water right down Main Street" into the village of Lyndonville.
Eric Paris, owner of the nearby Freighthouse restaurant and president of the local historical society, agreed that a bridge collapse could create a "huge problem. It would be a huge cleanup."
Jeanne Elliott, who with her husband, Arthur, owns the bridge, said surmising what might happen if the bridge collapses is "pure speculation."
"It certainly would be removed before it caused any flooding," she said.
The nearly 150-year-old Sanborn Covered Bridge has drawn interest from history buffs who say it's rare in at least two respects: It's privately owned, while most of the estimated 750 covered bridges around the country are in municipal or county control. It’s also of a design developed by famed 19th-century New Hampshire bridge builder Peter Paddleford.