NEWFANE -- State and local officials will be in Newfane this week to discuss the plans to rehabilitate the Williamsville Arch Bridge over the Rock River.
Representatives from the Vermont Agency of Transportation and the Windham Regional Commission will hold a meeting Wednesday, Aug. 27, at 6 p.m. in the Newfane Town Office
VTrans and WRC staff members will talk about the bridge, and collect questions and concerns about the project as the state prepares to develop a plan to address the crumbling structure.
"The Williamsville Arch Bridge is a major connector to points north and south along Route 30, and points west toward the Deerfield Valley area, and Mount Snow resort," Windham Regional Commission Senior Planner Matt Mann said. "The public concerns meeting will discuss the project development process to re-design and replace this bridge."
Mann said VTrans recently included the Williamsville bridge project into its three-year Capital Program which puts the project in line for attention, though he said it will probably still be a few years before work starts on the bridge.
The one-lane concrete bridge over the Rock River on Depot Street in Williamsville, also known as Bridge 12, was built in 1900 and reconstructed in 1934.
Due to the bridge's historic status VTrans still has to figure out if the structure can be rehabilitated or if it has to be replaced.
The bridge is in "poor" condition and is considered structurally deficient, according to a VTrans assessment, and the project has been determined to be a high priority by the state's bridge structures program.
If the structure is replaced the bridge will lose its historic status and Mann said state officials called the meeting Wednesday to talk to local residents about their concerns and offer an update on the project.
Newfane officials and Windham County legislators have been trying to get the state to move forward with the work for a few years. The concrete on the bridge is failing, and Newfane town officials were concerned with the safety of swimmers in the Rock River this summer.
"This is a capital priority for the state based on the critical need and condition of the bridge," Mann said. "It is now entered into the project development process. This is a chance for the public to be involved as it enters the design phase."
The bridge is on the town highway network and the project will require local matching funds.
Newfane has $25,000 in its capital fund for the Arch Bridge project.
"This bridge has a lot of value to the community," Mann said. "VTrans really wants to listen to community comments and thoughts as the designs of the new bridge move forward."
Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 279. Follow him on Twitter @HowardReformer.