Town looks into options for bridge that is no more

The July 1 deluge is the gift that keeps on giving, so far as destruction along Beaver Meadow Road goes. In addition to the washouts now under repair, the old bridge opposite Parcel 5 that led hikers to the Ballard trail network was a casualty.

That portion of trail is an old Class IV road, Town Manager Herb Durfee said, so presumably the bridge once carried vehicles of some kind. Now all that's left are the concrete abutments -- which, Durfee said, were part of the problem. They created what he called a "fiord" that narrowed the flow of water and thus increased its destructive force as it raced downstream.

"We're working now on a temporary and a permanent solution," Durfee said. "I just don't know what yet."

Durfee and the Norwich Trails Committee are thinking options through. The temporary solution may be stones in the stream bed that allow hikers to cross with dry feet -- while leaving enough room for fish to swim past. The permanent solution may involve removing the abutments and creating a longer span, Durfee said.

Right now, the washout isn't an obstacle. The stream is low and easily fordable, though its banks are steep. "They've just got to go down and back up," Durfee said.


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