HEB Engineers and the Town of Stark held a public meeting on Wednesday, February 29, 2012 to discuss the history and project status of the Stark Covered Bridge project, and to receive public input. Jason Ross, P.E., HEB project manager, presented a history of the bridge and several rehabilitation alternatives. Questions and comments were taken from the audience. Presentation documents: agenda, existing& historic bridge sections
The following items were discussed during the meeting:
Lighting – In general, people were in favor of upgrading the lighting system over the roadway and sidewalks for safety purposes. There was a suggestion to install some type of permanent hooks or brackets in order to make it easier to install temporary Christmas lights in the winter. People seemed to be in favor of installing discreet lighting on the outside of the structure so that the bridge is visible at night. A suggestion was made to look into installing security cameras on the bridge to help prevent vandalism.
Sidewalks – People feel that the sidewalks on this bridge are unique and are part of what makes it special. We discussed that the sidewalk approaches are too steep and do not meet ADA requirements. Improvements that reduce the slope onto the bridge would be welcome.
Roadway Clearance – We discussed that the bridge is posted for a height of 8’-0” but taller vehicles regularly use the bridge and have damaged the diagonal braces. If there is anything that we could do to lower the roadway and increase clearance, people would be in favor of it. There may be a possibility of moving the curbs in order to force traffic toward the middle of the bridge.
Drainage – It was discussed that there is a drainage issue in front of the church building. If there is anything that we could do to divert runoff from the bridge away from the church, it would be appreciated.
Roof material – The existing roof, installed in 1982, is made from locally cut cedar shakes. Several people expressed a desire to keep the roof and the rest of the bridge looking the same or very similar to how it currently looks.
Load rating – Even though the bridge is only posted for 10 tons it is commonly used by school busses, dump trucks, and fire trucks. If possible, people would like to upgrade the load rating so that the bridge is safe for all of the traffic that uses it.
Fire system – Several members of the fire department were on hand to give feedback on the fire suppression system. Everyone seemed to be in favor of installing some type of fire suppression system. A suggestion was made to install a 4” pipe on the bridge that would connect to dry hydrants on either side of the river. This would help to fight a fire in the vicinity of the bridge and reduce the need to drive across the bridge with a fully loaded tanker truck.
Detour – There are potential detour routes both east and west of the bridge. Both of these detour routes will need to be implemented during construction. We will need to coordinate with police, fire department, ambulance, school bus drivers, and the post office to make sure that everyone is aware of the detour.
Construction season – There is an inn on the north side of the bridge that will be impacted by the closure of the bridge. The busy seasons at the inn are typically late summer and fall, so if the construction schedule could avoid these times, it would be appreciated.
Historic Marker – There was a suggestion to look into the possibility of installing a historic marker or plaque near the bridge.
We appreciate everyone who attended the meeting and all of the great feedback that we received. If you have any other questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us or one of the Selectmen. We will be holding an additional public meeting in a few months to present the results of our engineering study.