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Poland Village discusses bridge problem

February 27, 2019
J.T. Whitehouse , The Town Crier

At last week's Poland Village Council meeting, a continuing discussion was held over the Mauthe Bridge in Poland Forest. Councilman Sam Moffie said the bridge needs to be closed and all foot traffic stopped. As proof, he presented a board from the walk.

"I noticed a nail was up," he said. "When I tried to pull it out, the whole board came with it."

He said the walk is unsafe and the bridge needs to be sealed off from pedestrian traffic. The bridge was originally closed in late July of 2018 with fencing and signs. Those items were remove and destroyed by someone and people were again using the bridge.

Resident Laurie Laplante said she agreed something needed to be done to restore the old bridge, but people use it as a means to cross the creek.

"If you put something up (a barrier), people will find a way to cross on it anyway," she told council. "We need something temporary put up while the repairs on the bridge are being made. There is no other way across the stream."

Representing the Forest Board was board member Mark Thompson. He said the bridge was never meant to remain open.

"People believe the bridge is ok," he said. "Because vandals removed the barriers, people assume they can cross safely."

The Mauthe Bridge was constructed in 1956 to replace a footbridge that was washed away by flood waters. When it was closed last year, MS Consultants were hired to evaluate the bridge to see if it could be restored. According to Thompson, the MS Consultants report found the cables and A-frame structures both have service life left. The decking has rot and is in need of replacement. Thompson suggested replacement with a composite material that would not rot.

"The faster we can get a design, and bid the project, the better," he said.

In the meantime, Moffie wants to see the bridge closed off with a stronger barricade. He said the bridge is dangerous and needs to be closed to pedestrians. He recommended a chain link fence and even removing the stairs.

Restoring the bridge still needs to be finalized and put out to bid. Once a cost is placed on the project, the Village will be able to decide on the next move.

"We are not in a hurry to tear it down by any means," said Poland Village Mayor Tim Sicafuse. "We are aiming at restoring it."

 
 

 

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