Lincoln sets information meeting to discuss ‘Truchon Bridge’ repair

LINCOLN — The town of Lincoln will hold a crucial transportation meeting on Tuesday, April 26, at 6:30 p.m. in Burnham Hall.
The meeting will serve two purposes: to act as a local concerns meeting for community members and officials to discuss details surrounding the upcoming “Truchon Bridge” replacement project, and to serve as a platform to discuss a pedestrian feasibility study from the school to the village center that is being coordinated by the Addison County Regional Planning Commission (ACRPC).
The Truchon Bridge replacement project is in the early stages of development and the town, state and hired contractors are seeking community input. There is some urgency, however, as a recent hole opened on the bridge that serves as a vital link between two sides of the town.
The bridge is located on East River Road between the center of Lincoln Town and Lincoln Community School. According to the Lincoln Board of Selectmen Chair Barbara Rainville, the road receives approximately 2,500 car trips every day.
Rainville hopes to see a temporary bridge built while the permanent structure is under construction.
“The town’s hope is that we won’t go through the whole process of being detoured for six months,” she said. “While it will expedite the bridge’s building process (to not have a temporary bridge), it will be a pain in the neck. … The general consensus is that no one really wants to go around.”
If a temporary bridge were not installed, Rainville explained, “the only other way that emergency vehicles could get to the school or the south end of town would be to go over the hills and down.”
The detour up Gove Hill Road over West Hill Road and down Ripton Road into town would add about six miles.
Rainville’s other main concern centers on striking a balance between pedestrian traffic and snow plowing.
“The (present) bridge links the center of town to the school, so it gets a lot of foot traffic, but it’s only 19 feet wide. That’s not even standard. … It’s not supposed to be that narrow,” said Rainville. “While we want it widened (when rebuilt), we don’t want a raised sidewalk because that will make it nearly impossible to plow.”
The town has signed an agreement with the state that it will pay 10 percent of the project’s total costs. “But, the town doesn’t know 10 percent of how much,” added Rainville.
A temporary bridge might bump up costs, and the state might consequently require the town to pay a higher percentage of those costs. So, the town will have to weigh practicality against financial feasibility at their upcoming meeting.
VTrans will employ Aaron P. Guyette of Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. in North Ferrisburgh to act as the town’s representative for this project, and the engineering firm Parsons Brinckerhoff, headquartered in New York City, will provide design-engineering services.
The meeting will also address a pedestrian passage feasibility study that was awarded to the town of Lincoln by ACRPC.
“The goal of this study is to improve pedestrian access and safety between the elementary school and the village center because … kids have to regularly walk that stretch of road,” said ACRPC Transportation Planner Rick Kehne.
The study, which ACRPC contracted out to engineering firm Broadreach Planning, has already begun and is set to continue until Aug. 30. According to Kehne, towns from across the county applied for these studies and only Lincoln, Bristol and Starksboro were awarded them.
“If you want to apply for federal or state funding for a construction project, a full feasibility study is necessary,” added Kehne. This aid from the ACRPC helps local governments do the preliminary research to get funding for and execute effective road construction projects. A sum of $12,500 was allocated for the Lincoln feasibility study.
“Lincoln has some real safety issues. … The current bridge is very narrow and has unsafe sight lines,” said Kehne. “That will be remedied with the new bridge design.”
Andrew Stein can be reached at [email protected].

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