Greenfield pumping station covered bridge repairs on track

The pumping station covered bridge over the Green River in Greenfield was lifted off its abutments in May by two cranes rigged for 90,000 pounds each and set on cribbing, where it is undergoing repairs
(Recorder file/Paul Franz)

The pumping station covered bridge over the Green River in Greenfield was lifted off its abutments in May by two cranes rigged for 90,000 pounds each and set on cribbing, where it is undergoing repairs (Recorder file/Paul Franz) Purchase photo reprints »

GREENFIELD — The town continues to do repairs to the 41-year-old wooden covered bridge that spans the Green River on Eunice Williams Drive in the area known as the “pumping station.”

Town Engineer Sara Campbell said the bridge, which has been closed to vehicular traffic since 2002, was lifted off damaged abutments this past spring and has been jacked level on the adjacent bank where the repairs are being made.

Abutments were damaged during Tropical Storm Irene in 2011 and the bridge has been sitting on those damaged abutments since. The bridge was closed to vehicular traffic after the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials listed it as a bridge that was structurally deficient and in poor overall condition.

ET&L Corp. of Stowe is doing the work and is currently on track to complete the project in November, said Campbell. When work is complete, it will be open to both pedestrians and cars.

The critical steel tie-rods, which were one of the reasons for the original closure of the bridge more than a decade ago, have been replaced.

Campbell said work this month will focus on carpentry as ET&L replaces twisted and cracked timbers. She said once the running boards were removed, the town learned that the bridge deck was more degraded than originally thought.

Irene left the bridge sloping from west to east, which caused runoff to flow from the hill to the west and caused decay of the decking.

The entire deck will be replaced, but not until the bridge has been put back on new reinforced concrete abutments, said Campbell. She said the concrete face is textured to simulate a more natural rock surface. The town is using some of the stones from the old abutment to cap the concrete.

Campbell said the town hopes new oak decking will extend the life of the bridge. The existing hemlock deck was replaced in 1989.

New wood siding will also be installed on the upstream side of the bridge and the siding that can be salvaged will be used on the downstream side, she said.

The bridge will also get a new roof.

“We have had no environmental issues during construction,” said Campbell. “The contractor has had to deal with the variation of river flow as it prepared to pour concrete, though.”

Campbell said the public should stay away from the construction site.

In 1972, volunteers 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.

You can reach Anita Fritz at: afritz@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 280

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