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BRATTLEBORO — The town of Brattleboro hopes to have its pedestrian bridge back in place over the Whetstone Brook by the end of the summer.

The bridge that connects the Preston Lot with the Brattleboro Food Co-op's parking lot was removed to repair a section of wall that collapsed into the Whetstone Brook on March 15.

The collapsed wall is along the Co-op side of the brook, about 30 feet long and 10 feet high.

On Wednesday night, the Brattleboro Development Review Board approved the town's plan to repair the wall.

When the pedestrian bridge was installed in 2004, said Dan Tyler, the town's highways and utilities superintendent, a new concrete retaining wall was laid on top of an existing rock wall. On March 15, the old rock wall collapsed into the brook.

"We received an emergency stabilization permit from the stream management engineer, removed the pedestrian bridge and had a contractor install a concrete barrier in the brook to prevent further erosion of where the section of wall is missing," said Tyler.

The town will install what is called a soldier pile wall, which consists of steel H piles that are vertically driven or drilled into the earth at regular intervals. Pre-cast concrete panels shaped to look like rock walls will be attached to the piles, said Tyler.

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He said the town has chosen pre-cast concrete because pouring concrete in the narrow location would cause too much disturbance to the brook and was too expensive. Such work would also funnel the water into a narrow channel, which, if a strong storm happens during construction, could damage the wall on the opposite side or cause damage downstream.

"We are hoping to get to work in the next couple of weeks," said Tyler.

When the work is done, the pathway will be repaved and restamped with a brick pattern prior to the bridge being reinstalled, he said.

Tyler said the concrete panels have a life expectancy of 75 years.

Stabilizing the area in advance of installing a new wall cost $14,000. The rest of the work, including installing the pre-cast panels and restoring the stream bed and repaving the Whetstone Pathway will cost about $95,000, according to a memorandum prepared by the Department of Public Works. Pouring concrete was estimated at nearly double that, states the memo.

Renaud Brothers and Waysville Engineering will be conducting the work.

Steve Barrett, director of Brattleboro's DPW, said the project will be funded out of the town's capital reserve fund.

Bob Audette can be contacted at raudette@reformer.com.