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Rehabilitation of Quechee Gorge Bridge Under Way in Hartford, Vt.

Thu November 30, 2023 - Northeast Edition #25
Ken Liebeskind -CEG Correspondent


The existing structure is a three-hinge steel deck arch constructed in 1911 and reconstructed in 1972 and 1989.
(VTrans photo)
The existing structure is a three-hinge steel deck arch constructed in 1911 and reconstructed in 1972 and 1989. (VTrans photo)
The existing structure is a three-hinge steel deck arch constructed in 1911 and reconstructed in 1972 and 1989.
(VTrans photo) The upgrades will entail cleaning and painting the structural arches and frame of the three-span steel deck truss structure, replacing deteriorated beams or joints and widening the existing sidewalks from 3.5-ft. to 6-ft.
(VTrans photo)

The rehabilitation of the Quechee Gorge bridge on U.S. Route 4 over the Ottauquechee River in Hartford, Vt., is under way with preliminary work completed and a range of items in the project ahead.

Harrison & Burrowes Bridge Constructors, Glenmont, N.Y., is the lead contractor with Tri-State Painting of Tilton, N.H., the first subcontractor.

Tri-State Painting started the project by assembling cables and bracing for a containment system that will allow its crews to work under the bridge and remove paint without material falling into the river below or surrounding areas in the Hartford area, according to a report in Valley News, a community newspaper in West Lebanon, N.H.

"Over the next two years, corroded parts of the structure will be replaced, it will be repainted, the deck will be widened to accommodate six-foot sidewalks that will extend west on Route 4 to parking areas, and new safety fencing will be installed," said Tom Chase of Greenman-Pederson Inc., a consultant to the Vermont Agency of Transportation, the Valley News reported.

The report on Tri-State Painting's work was filed on Sept. 23, 2023, a short time after the official starting date of Aug. 29, according to VTrans.

The existing structure is a three-hinge steel deck arch constructed in 1911 and reconstructed in 1972 and 1989. It is approximately 285 ft. in length and 41 ft. wide. The bridge deck is in "good" condition while the superstructure and substructure are in "fair" and "satisfactory" condition, respectively.

The upgrades will entail cleaning and painting the structural arches and frame of the three-span steel deck truss structure, replace deteriorated beams or joints and widen the existing sidewalks from 3.5-ft. to 6-ft.

The state has designated the structure a "forever bridge." Both its history and its location make it hard to replace. It originally served as a railroad bridge, then was converted to a highway bridge in the 1930s. The 285-ft.-long span was partially reconstructed in 1972 and 1989.

The preventive maintenance project also will include suicide mitigation considerations including a suicide prevention fence. Police say 14 suicides took place at the gorge between 2007 and July 2018.

In a release, VTrans said, "A major part of the project is to rehabilitate, clean and paint the structural steel arch and framing that support the deck. In addition, bridge abutment backwall, expansion joints, railings and new sidewalks connecting all corners of the bridge to parking areas will be constructed."

VTrans said the project also will include:

  • cleaning and painting the steel arch members;
  • replacement of deteriorated steel members;
  • bridge joint repair or replacement;
  • bearing rehabilitation/replacement;
  • deck membrane and pave application;
  • widening of the existing sidewalks — new concrete sidewalks and fascias;
  • partial deck replacement to the approximate limits of the 1972 deck and sidewalk reconstruction;
  • silane application to the substructures and new concrete sidewalks and fascias; and
  • slope stabilization.

When asked what is ahead for the project Amy Tatko, VTrans spokesperson, said, "Installation of the containment system and access panels is going on this fall. Cleaning and prime coat of the structural steel will begin next spring. This is a three-year project and the completion date is June 26, 2026."

Construction equipment being used on the project includes a Cat 420E IT backhoe by Harrison & Burrowes and a Cat TH460B telescopic fork lift to unload staging hardware by Tri-State Painting. CEG




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