The New Bridge at North River Mills
Big Beams and a Narrow Road
OOPS---may be the word: (Now I don't feel so bad about my own "miscalculations"). Getting & setting the main "I" beams for the new bridge has been quite interesting, to say the least. There are 5 steel "I" beams; each in two sections; one section being 110 feet long, the other 30 feet long. Each were probably 48 to 50 inches or more high. Those were to be bolted together to make up the needed total length - The 110 foot ones provide the interesting story.
The "Monster Beams" were built in the state of Missouri, a bit of a distance from here. Each one was transported here by a huge truck. Five beams; five huge trucks. The trucks each had an "expandable" trailer. Though coming from Missouri, somewhere around Cumberland, Maryland, they were routed west to I-68 and I-77, on to Charleston WV, and on to I-81, where the were then brought north to Winchester and on to NRM. This "long way around", I was told, had to do with permits for the various road ways.
It was that last leg of the trip, the itty bitty road from Slanesville to the new bridge location, that apparently someone failed to do their home work on. They failed to calculate the turns, as well as the "ups & downs". The huge trucks, stretched out to their maximum length, couldn't make the turns or the dips. So, at Slanesville, it became necessary to have large equipment pick up the rear of each beam, shorten the truck bed, and leave a large part of the beam dangling off the back of the truck. That let them negotiate the turns, but caused the dangling ends of the beams drag the road way in all of the dips. But, they finally made it to the site of the new construction. Yes,,, but,, ah,, - a tiny bit too soon: -The crane, needed to off-load the beams, hadn't arrived yet. Now nearly every inch of the road from the entrance to Ice Mountain Properties and on down to the river was occupied by huge trucks. The trucks couldn't go forward across the original old bridge because of the weight limit, and they couldn't back up because the back end of the "I" beams would dig into the road. This only presented a problem in that the soon arriving crane was being transported in by nine, (yes NINE), trucks nearly the size of the steel beam trucks! Talk about congestion!!!!
I found it interesting, (my sheltered life I guess), that the nine trucks transporting the crane, involved ones that were transporting a second crane needed to assemble the first one. --Oh, but once they got started, those five huge beams were bolted to their required length and set into place within something like 5 or 6 hours. I was quite impressed with the accuracy of every move made by the giant crane.
And, oh yes, our road sure isn't going to be big enough to allow any load heavy enough to ever make those five bridge beams even grunt!
HistoricHampshire.org appreciates our local reporter, Buck O'Brien, taking the time to observe this project and send us this informative report, particularly since it required going out in the rain that soaked the project in the afternoon. Above photo courtesy of Buck O'Brien
Photo Album of Bridge ConstructionMore To Come - seems they can build them faster than we can post them!
The Bridge is now Open!
Charles C. Hall.