Trail users rebuild bridge over Rand Brook

Last modified: Monday, September 28, 2015
Many hands make light work.

A 180-foot long bridge spanning Rand Brook in Greenfield is the ticket to accessing multiple trails within the Greenfield Trails Association’s network — or at least, it once was, before it fell into disrepair. And now, it is again, after being rebuilt by multiple trail users a few weeks ago.

First constructed in 2001, the bridge had begun to see better days and was in need of replacement. With the Dodge Road Bridge being wiped out in flooding years ago, there was no longer a safe way to cross to the section of the road that had been converted to a Class A trail.

The old bridge was disassembled late this spring, and new construction began in June, and was completed last week, with only a few cosmetic improvements left to make. And the new bridge was made possible by those groups that will use it the most.

Funding for the bridge and its construction comes from several sources — the Greenfield Trails Association, the Piscataquog Area Trailways, an equine club, The Crotched Mountain Ridge Runners, a snowmobile club, and several donations from individual citizens.

“If you had heard us screaming and jumping for joy the other night,” said Marlene Paulsen, who rides with the Piscataquog Area Trailways. “I think its great, because we have put bicyclists, snowmobilers and horseback riders together, and put together a bridge that will accommodate all of us.”

Trails Association Treasurer and manager of the bridge reconstruction, Mike Teitsch, along with a core group of volunteers consisting of Paulsen, David Westaway, and Steve Constine worked in evenings to make the new bridge a reality.

“It’s been a summer-long project,” said Teitsch. “It’s taken us from June ‘til last week.”

Before its reconstruction, the bridge had started to deteriorate, and someone began to disassemble it last fall, leaving it impassible, according to Teitsch. The volunteers shored up the supports and widened the bridge from five feet to six feet to better accommodate larger snowmobiles.

The final cost of the bridge was $6,800, with about $3,000 in donations from various trail users and the remainder from the Greenfield Trails Association.

The bridge was constructed with discounted materials from New England Forest Products in Greenfield and Belletetes.

Pine Ridge Road is a Class VI dirt road that connects East Road to Route 136. The bridge is located approximately 200 yards down Pine Ridge Road road from the East Road intersection. Contributions are still being accepted to offset the cost of the bridge replacement. Anyone wishing to donate may do so by contacting the Greenfield Trails Association at greenfield-trails@googlegroups.com or mailing a donation to Greenfield Trails Association, 276 Slip Road, Greenfield.

A video of a walk across the bridge can be found at: www.youtube.com/watch?v=BMwiqysyMkY.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244.