Bridge To Be Fixed, But Closed For 3 Weeks

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By Patrick Cronin

Hampton Union, Tuesday, February 22, 2005

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

HAMPTON -- The state will fix the Exeter Railroad Bridge but not without causing inconvenience to the residents who use it regularly.

That was the news that came out of last week's selectmen's meeting.

Town Manager James Barrington said the bridge will be closed for three weeks during the repairs, and traffic will be redirected.

Barrington said he suggested the state plan on making the repairs in October, after Columbus Day. That way the repairs won't interfere with the summer tourism season, Barrington said.

According to the Department of Transportation, the bridge, which is on the state's list of seriously deteriorated bridges, is structurally deficient, and the angle at which Exeter Road enters the downtown intersection has been deemed a safety hazard.

Selectman Jim Workman said the repairs are long overdue and agreed with the proposed date to begin the repairs.

"It's a lot better than doing it the week of the 4th of July," said Workman.

Selectman Ginny Bridle-Russell said the state needs to stay on schedule.

"We need to tell them that three weeks is the drop-deadline to repair it," said Bridle-Russell.

Selectmen Chairman William "Skip" Sullivan agreed, noting the closure is going to heavily increase traffic on Drakeside Road.

Originally, the state was going to replace the bridge.

Barrington informed selectmen in July, however, that the state could no longer replace the bridge because of current and projected federal and state funding constraints.

Robert Barry of the DOT said instead of replacing the bridge it will be reinforced to meet legal load-bearing requirements.

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