- Associated Press - Thursday, March 6, 2014

BOSCAWEN, N.H. (AP) - Voters in two New Hampshire towns are going to decide whether to demolish a crumbling Merrimack River bridge that dates back to 1907 and has been closed for nearly 50 years.

Designed by engineer and former Concord mayor John Storrs, the 347-foot Boscawen-Canterbury Bridge played an important role in development and transportation history in both towns.

The Concord Monitor reports (https://bit.ly/1qb7223) an engineering study in 2009 concluded removal was the only feasible option for one of the state’s last remaining Parker truss bridges.

“In the case of the Boscawen-Canterbury Bridge, unfortunately, due to its steep level of decline, there’s just no way to rehabilitate it,” said Elizabeth Muzzey, director of the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources. “It would basically be a total replacement.”

Muzzey said the Parker truss bridge design was popular in the first half of the 20th century for longer-spanned, higher capacity highway bridges.

“There very much was a tradition of these bridges crossing the Merrimack River,” she said. “At one time we had a lot of these metal truss bridges in New Hampshire, but those numbers have been rapidly declining.”

Safety and liability issues have pushed the demolition process forward. The bridge is a popular launching spot for swimmers in the summer. The towns also have had issues with metal being stolen for scrap.

The matter comes up for voters Tuesday. If voters approve the demolition, the towns would then solicit proposals with the hope of going out to bid by next winter.

Removing the bridge will cost about $400,000.


Information from: Concord Monitor, https://www.cmonitor.com

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