Covered bridge remains buried despite neighbors' wishes

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ROCKINGHAM >> The wooden remains of a 145-year-old covered bridge destroyed five years ago during Tropical Storm Irene have been buried, upsetting some nearby residents who felt the timbers should have been used to help build a kiosk near the rebuilt bridge.

Rockingham Selectwoman Ann DiBernardo said some residents of the Bartonsville neighborhood wanted to use some of the wood from the Bartonsville Covered Bridge, which was about 150 feet long and had siding and a roof, to build a kiosk and other items honoring it.

"I'm just astounded," DiBernardo said. "I am shocked and surprised. ... There were so many people in Bartonsville who wanted it."

The destruction of the original bridge, which was built in the 1870s, was captured on video and became an iconic image of Irene's fury.

Town Manager Willis "Chip" Stearns said the remains were buried about six weeks ago at the town's gravel pit in Bartonsville. Stearns said the Vermont League of Cities and Towns, which owned the bridge's wooden remains, asked him to get rid of them after it failed to sell them.

"It was put in a hole and covered up," he said.

Former Rockingham Select Board member Susan Hammond, who took the video of the bridge being swept away, had led the effort build a new covered bridge.

"It was heartbreaking to hear it," she said.

Stearns said pressure-treated timber and creosote-treated timber in the bridge were given to people in New Hampshire for private projects.

Construction on a new covered bridge, modeled after the original, began in 2012. The new bridge opened to traffic in 2013.


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