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Antrim / Bennington

$1.35 million bridge spanning Contoocook unveiled

BENNINGTON — A new Antrim-Bennington bridge, under construction since February, is now completed and open to traffic.

The construction was the second phase of a two-step project on the town line bridge that crosses the Contoocook River, Bennington Road Agent Gary Russell said Wednesday. Russell said two or three years ago the towns had new guard rails installed on the bridge for safety reasons until the towns could afford to replace the bridge.

“The bridge is new from top to bottom,” Russell said. “I think it’s 20 feet longer than before.”

According to Town Administrator Dee French, the Antrim-Bennington bridge is a main access point on the north end of Bennington. She said she couldn’t speak to the amount of traffic on the bridge but she said it can be a popular route since there is a transfer station a mile beyond the bridge.

Eighty percent of the cost of the bridge was paid for by the state and the remaining 20 percent was split between the two towns, with each town paying 10 percent. French said the estimated total cost of the new bridge was $1.35 million, so each town paid around $135,000.

According to Deputy Town Administrator Kristie LaPlante, the town of Bennington picked up the total bill for the bridge and will be reimbursed by the state for its 80 percent and the town of Antrim for its 10 percent. LaPlante said the town paid for its part of the bill through capital reserve funds approved by taxpayers. She added that the cost of the bridge will have no tax impact this year since enough money was saved over the last few years. She added that this was not a bridge red-listed by the state.

LaPlante said the once one-lane bridge now has two lanes and has no weight limitations. Neither LaPlante nor Russell could confirm whether this bridge between towns had any limitations or weight restrictions prior to being closed in February.

On the Bennington side of the bridge, Bible Hill Road merges with North Bennington Road, which turns into Depot Street as one crosses the bridge into Antrim. Russell said coming into the project he was concerned about potential flooding on Bible Hill Road. Any flooding on that road during construction would have delayed work being done to the bridge. “Bible Hill Road is prone to flooding. We had to close the road twice in five years,” Russell said. Only once during construction did the contractors experience some high water on the road, but no flooding.

“They did a real great job,” Russell said. “I’m glad to see it open before snow fell.”

French said she was pleased with the work done by Quantum Construction Consultants, LLC., out of Concord, which was responsible for engineering, design and oversight, as well as Cold River Bridges, LLC., out of Walpole, which was responsible for the actual construction of the bridge.

“They have been aggressive and on target,” French said. “They were very efficient.”

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

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