Bristol rolls out plans to repair two key bridges

BRISTOL — Bristol selectmen learned at a Monday meeting that plans for repair of two key bridges in town are coming together, but that residents should not expect for the spans to be in full working order any time soon.
A highway official explained the state’s multi-year plans for repairing the one-lane bridge on Route 116 that crosses the New Haven River in the southern part of town, and town officials signed an agreement that will lead to repair of the closed bridge at the base of South Street just below the village.
At the March 14 meeting, an engineer from the Vermont Agency of Transportation presented project plans and a schedule for the Route 116 “Stoplight Bridge” replacement project. A new 300-foot bridge, extending over a brook in addition to the river, will replace the present 100-foot bridge. The project, which has been on the backburner since 1986, will likely be put into action over the summers of 2013 and 2014.
In 2012, bids will be taken and plans will be finalized for the new bridge.
Town Administrator Bill Bryant said the “major highway project” would carry a price tag of $7.3 million. Since Route 116 is a state highway, the bridge will be funded entirely by the state.
In other construction news, the bridge on South Street that closed last summer for repairs is set for construction in 2012. Selectmen signed a “finance and maintenance” agreement with the state on Monday to fund this project. The town will have to pay 10 percent of the project’s cost, the total of which was not yet determined.
Bryant indicated that the town must find a way to finance its end of the bargain “at some time during the next year … when the time comes.”
Separately, the selectboard agreed to close Bristol’s North Street at the intersection of Park Place for one to two days this year. This section of road will be closed at some still-undecided point over the next few weeks for tree removal.
“It’ll just happen when it happens, but we’ll put up signs and notify the public,” said Bryant. There will be detours in effect.
In other action at Monday’s meeting:
•  Joel Bouvier, serving his third term as town selectman, was elected the new selectboard chairman. “Tradition lives!” commented Bryant about the nature of Bristol’s rotating chairmanship.
•  The selectboard determined that new applicants for town officer positions will be interviewed at the March 28 selectboard meeting.
“If you’re interested in serving the community, now would be a good time to contact the selectboard,” said Bryant.
•  Officials said their annual road trip, when town administrators and public officials inspect roads for repairs, will be scheduled for either April 28 or May 3.
•  Selectmen signed the discharge of a mortgage on a loan for Roy’s Automotive. The loan was paid in full and was part of the town’s revolving loan plan, which funds approximately $500,000 in business loans.
The selectboard will meet next on March 28, April 11, and April 25, or every other Monday for the next two months, at 7 p.m. in the town offices located on the lower level of Holley Hall.
Andrew Stein can be reached at [email protected]

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