- Associated Press - Saturday, June 28, 2014

CONCORD, N.H. (AP) - A North County town is expected to get a $278,000 grant to make repairs to a broken water main suspended from a historic covered bridge across the Ammonoosuc River.

The 100-year-old cast iron pipe suspended on the underbelly of the Northumberland Covered Bridge feeds wells and storage tanks on both sides of the river. It broke in April, and only temporary fixes have been made.

The New Hampshire Community Development Finance Authority approved an Emergency Community Development Block Grant for the repairs in Northumberland.

The solution will require directional drilling to install 300-plus feet of new pipe beneath the riverbed.

Engineers who’ve examined the water main say a leading cause of the damage comes from constant vibrations of snowmobiles, which use the 1852 covered bridge as a river crossing.

Ice jams and soil erosion have also taken their toll on the pipe.

“This water main serves 600 people in downtown Groveton Village. A permanent solution must be in place before next winter; otherwise, safe drinking water for the area could be compromised, fire hydrants could become ineffective, and discharge from the pipe could cause further damage to the bridge and the river bank,” said Kevin Flynn, CDFA communications director.

The grant awaits final confirmation from the Executive Council.

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