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Francestown

Concerns raised on three bridges

Francestown, which has faced the closure of two of its bridges over the past year, had red flags raised on three other bridges in the past week.

The Cressy Hill Road Bridge, the Bicknell Bridge and the Juniper Hill Road Bridge were all found to have issues when bridge inspectors reviewed them Wednesday as part of a routine inspection, Planning Board Chair Linda Kunhardt said in an interview Monday. She said the issues were not “life-threatening” and do not require immediate closure. Based on what bridge inspectors said initially to her on Wednesday, Kunhardt said Cressy Hill and Bicknell may just need repairs whereas Juniper Hill may have bigger issues, and could be a candidate for a temporary bridge.

The town will not know the extent of the issues until the Department of Transportation sends its official letter of recommendation in the next two weeks.

The announcement comes as the town considers how to allocate money to capital improvement projects.

Kunhardt said the Planning Board holds public meetings and workshops to discuss unfunded projects and equipment the town needs. The Planning Board hears input from the public before making the final improvement plan recommendations to the Select Board.

Kunhardt originally thought there would be a recommendation tonight about what projects to fund this year and how much money would be spent. But uncertainty surrounding repairs to the three bridges makes a recommendation from the Planning Board seem unlikely.

Spending money on bridge repairs would take away from unfunded projects the town was hoping to accomplish in 2014. Kunhardt some of these unfunded projects include a new exhaust ventilation system for the fire department, road work on culverts and small, town bridges, purchasing a back hoe for the fire department, tearing down an old ski rental shop on the other side of Crotched Mountain, a generator for the police department, and many others.

Lindsey Arceci can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 232, or larceci@ledgertranscript.com.

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