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On Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, a large group of people gathered on the Arch Bridge in Williamsville for a ceremony marking the official opening of the new bridge over the Rock River.

WILLIAMSVILLE — Arch Bridge is back in business after being replaced in an approximately $4.6 million construction project that occurred over the summer and fall.

“Drivers are advised to travel with caution while clean up of the site and removal of project signs occurs,” the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) said in an email Wednesday announcing Arch Bridge on Depot Road over the Rock River reopened. “No work will occur Thursday or Friday in observance of Thanksgiving Day.”

Arch Bridge is owned by the town of Newfane. Federal Highway Administration funds are covering 80 percent of the costs of construction, with the town pitching in 5 percent and the state contributing 15 percent.

Town Moderator Deborah Lee Luskin said attendees of Wednesday’s ribbon cutting ceremony were “standing on the site of a bridge that was originally built in 1908” then was updated sometime in the early 20th century and considered to be one of the bridges in the worst condition in Vermont in 2011. However, she noted, the bridge continued standing after Tropical Storm Irene wrecked havoc locally in 2011.

Still, Luskin said, the community wanted a new bridge. On Wednesday, a large crowd gathered to celebrate that feat after eight months of construction led by Renaud Brothers Inc.

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Luskin credited the general contractor with maintaining “a tidy and friendly worksite with good cheer.” She noted the presence of engineers with VTrans.

“A big shoutout to the Vermont Department of Historical Preservation for replacing this with another arch bridge,” she said.

Luskin also commended Select Board members who have been involved with the project over the years, Road Foreman Jay Wilson and Road Commissioner Christopher Williams. Wilson cut the ribbon and Williams was the first to drive over the new bridge as neighbors cheered.

VTrans’ plan for the project included widening the arch, bringing it from 21 feet to 28 feet with 7-foot shoulders. The bridge will continue to have a single travel lane.

During construction, Depot Road was closed to through traffic and a detour was created on Grimes Hill Road.

Originally, the project was anticipated to conclude last month but it extended into November. Roadwork, paving, line striping and installation of permanent signs needed to be completed.