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Pulp Mill Bridge safety measures sought

MIDDLEBURY — Middlebury selectboard members on Aug. 13 agreed unanimously to ask the Vermont Agency of Transportation for electronic message boards to warn of height restrictions for vehicles entering the historic, double-laned Pulp Mill Bridge that links Middlebury with Weybridge across the Otter Creek at Seymour Street. 
Middlebury residents Irene and Ed Barna recently alerted town officials to the potential damage the circa-1852 span could face from large vehicles — particularly during a 10- week period next summer when Merchants Row and Main Street are closed to trafffic as part of a major downtown bridges project. 
The Barnas anticipate the Pulp Mill Bridge will get more use as a secondary route, and they want to make sure large-vehicle drivers know the span’s limitations. The Miller’s Run span in Lyndonville, the Woodstock Covered Bridge and the Sanderson covered bridge in Brandon have also suffered damage this year from large vehicles. On Aug. 8, a big truck damaged the Flint Covered Bridge in Tunbridge. 
While Middlebury town officials are opposed to erecting damage-prevention structures at each end of the Pulp Mill Bridge, they believe large message boards could do the trick. They’re going to ask for three such devices. 
“It will be flashing in your face that the bridge has restrictions on it,” said Middlebury Public Works Planning Director Dan Werner. 

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