- Associated Press - Sunday, May 17, 2015

STARK, N.H. (AP) - Renovations are nearly complete on a New Hampshire covered bridge that’s part of the National Register of Historic Places.

The Caledonian Record reports (https://bit.ly/1d3v3WS) a dedication ceremony is planned June 27 at the Stark Covered Bridge that spans the Upper Ammoonsuc River and connects Stark Village along Route 110 with Northside Road. It’s not entirely certain when the bridge was built, as early as 1853 or as late as 1862. It’s undergone several renovations.

The total cost of rehabilitating the wooden Paddleford truss-style bridge is nearly $1.4 million. The project was awarded a $904,000 federal grant, with the state and town making up the difference. The grant stipulated that as much of the original timber be used as possible.

“Fortunately, we were able to keep a lot of the old timber, ” said resident engineer Roger Caron.

He also said while other bridges often suffer from rust, the Stark bridge had rot and insect damage. There’s been some new wood added, and the cement foundations have been replaced and new steel reinforcement beams installed underneath.

“We’ll also go to a 15-ton limit,” Caron said. “It was set at 10 tons before, so the load limit has been increased by 50 percent.”

The bridge has been popular with photographers through the years.

“They used to say the Old Man of the Mountain was the most photographed landmark in New Hampshire, but I think it’s that bridge,” said Dennis Lunn, director of the Stark Heritage Center.

The bridge will be dedicated in memory of longtime Stark Selectman James Eich, who died in 2013.

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Information from: The Caledonian-Record, https://www.caledonianrecord.com


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