Go Ahead, Cross that Downtown Woodstock Bridge When You Come to It

Woodstock takes back Route 4 bridge after $1.4 million repair job

You know that feeling of sending your kid off to summer camp for the first time, then going to pick her up? You hope she had fun, didn’t sustain too many flesh wounds and comes back a little more grown up. 

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Woodstock Municipal Manager Philip B. Swanson had that kind of day today. Only the kid was a bridge.

Last week, the Vermont Transportation Agency polished off a $1.4 million rebuild of the bridge that carries as many as 15,000 vehicles a day past the post office in downtown Woodstock. Tuesday, the state officially delivered the span back into town custody.

Mon Vert Cafe owner Sam DiNatale said business slowed during the project but she's glad it was done. "It's a safety issue."

The project began in mid-March, shut down Route 4 for 16 days and created traffic snarls through the spring. For all that inconvenience, though, the job progressed more quickly than scheduled and resulted in a structure with a solid foundation, spiffy new concrete railings and a fresh patch of blacktop to provide momentary relief from the otherwise bumpy route. (More on those bumps in a post tomorrow!) 

Swanson gathered with VTrans officials to do a final walk-through inspection. Pronouncing himself satisfied with the work, he signed the document formally accepting the bridge back into town oversight. The state covered 97.5 percent of the cost. 

“It came out great,” Swanson told VTrans project manager Rob Young and his colleagues. “Everybody in town is really happy with you guys and the contractor.”

Woodstock Municipal Manager Philip B. Swanson (in baseball cap) checks out the bridge repair with the Vermont transportation officials who oversaw the job. 

The bridge across Kedron Brook had been resting on a foundation — “superstructure” in engineer-speak — that dated to 1935. The decades of heat, cold, snow and rain had gradually worn that base to a worrisome state of decay.

“It was getting bad,” said Tom Chase, the state’s resident engineer on the project, which was done by Cold River Bridges from Walpole, NH. 

The work made things tough for merchants along the road, including Mon Vert Cafe. Owner Sam DiNatale said she normally shuts down for a week in April to catch up on maintenance chores during mud season. She extended that closure to two weeks while the road was completely shut, making it hard for customers and delivery trucks alike to get there. 

During the time when just one lane was open, she estimated that business was off 15-20 percent. She’s glad the work got done, and done well.

“It’s a safety issue,” she said. “It looks beautiful now. I just want the whole world to be as beautiful as that bridge.”

Got ideas for Discovering Woodstock? Send them my way: jgoodUV@gmail.com. 


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