Covered bridge project moving slowly
The Pumping station covered bridge on Eunice Williams Drive in Greenfield has been off its abutments since Tropical Storm Irene hit in August 2011.
Recorder file photo
The Pumping station covered bridge over the Green River was knocked off its abutment during Tropical Storm Irene August 2011
GREENFIELD — The 41-year-old covered bridge that spans the Green River in the area known as the “pumping station” on Eunice Williams Drive may be restored and put back on its abutments by the end of this year.
The state Department of Transportation is currently reviewing the town’s plans for its restoration.
When Tropical Storm Irene pummeled Greenfield in August 2011, it pulled the town’s only covered bridge off of its abutments and left it hanging over the river. A couple of months later, the town moved it off to the side, where it still sits today.
The town had been talking about giving the bridge, which used to accommodate both vehicle and foot traffic, a facelift, but it was never made a priority.
In 2002, the bridge was closed to vehicular traffic. The American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials had listed the bridge as structurally deficient and in poor overall condition.
Plans are for the restored covered bridge to open once again to vehicle traffic.
Town Engineer Sara Campbell said Greenfield will release the plans for restoration as soon as it gets the “go-ahead” from the state.
Campbell said once the town has bids it will take about two months to go through them and hire a contractor.
She said the restoration, which will include new abutments, along with preserving parts of the old ones, should take about five months.
She said the town’s Historical Commission has already approved the plans, which will include preserving some of the old stone abutments.
Campbell said it isn’t possible to reset the bridge on the existing abutments, because reinforced concrete needs to be used.
Therefore, she said, the town is proposing stone at ground level on top of the new concrete.
“That way, the stone itself is preserved and visible from the road,” said Campbell.
In 1972, the town built the bridge, which replaced a 100-year-old covered bridge that had been destroyed by a fire set by vandals three years before on Halloween night in 1969.
The entire site is included in the Historical Marker database and the Massachusetts Bay Colony Tercentenary Commission Markers series.
The pumping station was once a popular spot for swimming, fishing and picnicking, and people used to dive off the covered bridge.