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Reconstruction Progress

Covered bridge update at Mills Riverside Park By Livy Strong, Chair Jericho Underhill Park District, Mills Riverside Park

Since our last update, some changes have been made.

Please reference the "Reconstruction Phases & Progress" Section on the Covered Bridge Reconstruction Page for details. The massive, temporary bridge at Jericho’s Town garage will not be relocated at the park. The bid to move this 24-ton cement and iron structure came in at almost $90,000. This cost is just too expensive for the Jericho Underhill Park District (JUPD) to consider, as all funds need to be directed to the reconstruction of our cherished covered bridge. The new plan is to close the bridge for about half a day. The company Blow and Cote Inc. was awarded the bid to remove the bridge roof and walls and to install safety handrails. This deconstruction will be accomplished before Thanksgiving. Handrails should be going up with no bridge closure. Please check our Facebook page, and Front Porch Forum for the latest information on what is happening, when. As mentioned, bridge work should only inconvenience park visitors for about half a day. The next step in the reconstruction of the covered bridge will take place once funds are secured. The JUPD is waiting to receive the anticipated cost of adding a new roof and walls and possibly installing new abutments. It may take several years to raise the funds necessary through a possible bond issue and fundraising to complete the bridge reconstruction. The final product will be a covered bridge looking very much like the original one that we have all become familiar with. However, it will more accurately reflect the traditional truss construction commonly used in covered bridge building instead of simple wallboards with a corrugated metal roof. Our covered bridge at Mills Riverside Park offers a rustic entrance to a spectacular property. Since the 1960s, this bridge has been the only way to access 216 acres of open meadow and forested hillside. Today, up to 460 park visitors cross this span daily. The goal is to make sure that the covered bridge continues to greet park enthusiasts for generations to come.

 

Reconstruction Phases

Phase 1

Phase One can be considered a half step towards full bridge reconstruction.  The weakened walls, trusses and roof will be removed and hand railings installed for safe, pedestrian passage to the park.  The existing bridge will be essentially “uncovered”.  The deck is in excellent shape and can withstand the elements.   This work is scheduled for after October 4, 2021.  Once we have a firm date from Blow & Cote will provide updates.  

Phase 2

Phase Two focuses on maintaining park access via a temporary bridge.  The JUPD asked the Town of Jericho for the Old Red Mill bridge that was removed seven years ago and is stored at the Town Garage.  At a recent Select board meeting, this request was unanimously approved.  Initially, the cost to transport and site work was unknown but after the bid process was completed, it was determined that this option was not cost effective as the bridge is very heavy and to costly to move. No contract has been awarded for this phase at this time.   We are considering other options in conjunction with Phase 3.  

Phase 3

Phase Three is in process with JUPD and EV working together on a new design and substantive rebuild estimate both of which are needed inputs for the RFP process and understanding options for funding the project. This reconstruction work is much more involved and includes the deck structure being removed and set aside, new abutments established, new sidewalls, trusses and a roof constructed.  It is expected that this final reconstruction will take three months to finish.  Once completed, Mills Riverside Park will again feature a covered bridge that carries park visitors safely across the Browns River for generations to come.