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Quechee Bridge Reopening Soon, Selectman Says

  • An artist's rendering of the Quechee covered bridge currently under construction. (Courtesy Town of Hartford)

    An artist's rendering of the Quechee covered bridge currently under construction. (Courtesy Town of Hartford)

  • An artist's rendering of the Quechee covered bridge currently under construction. (Courtesy Town of Hartford)

    An artist's rendering of the Quechee covered bridge currently under construction. (Courtesy Town of Hartford)

  • An artist's rendering of the Quechee covered bridge currently under construction. (Courtesy Town of Hartford)

    An artist's rendering of the Quechee covered bridge currently under construction. (Courtesy Town of Hartford)

  • An artist's rendering of the Quechee covered bridge currently under construction. (Courtesy Town of Hartford)
  • An artist's rendering of the Quechee covered bridge currently under construction. (Courtesy Town of Hartford)
  • An artist's rendering of the Quechee covered bridge currently under construction. (Courtesy Town of Hartford)

Quechee — Hartford Selectman F. X. Flinn reports the rebuilt Quechee Bridge is on track to open by the end of the month, and the Hartford High School Alumni Association will move its annual parade from White River Junction to Quechee next summer to celebrate rebirth of the span.

In a meeting last week, “contractors agreed that Friday, Dec. 28 was the most likely opening day,” Flinn said in an informational email sent out over the weekend.

What about the weather?

“(I)f we got a series of foot-deep snows, maybe” the weather could impact the construction timeline, Finn wrote. “But the long term forecast for the rest of the month is benign.”

Flinn suggested residents should reserve 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 29 for the bridge dedication and parade — and, he said, “start thinking about what kind of float you and your friends might put together!” (What’s the over/under on how many floats will be made to look like the bridge?)

The bridge, a critical connector over the Ottauquechee River for residents and visitors, was destroyed during Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011.

Contractors’ bids arrived in June well over the $1.8 million budget, which was comprised of federal reimbursements and a bond of up to $1.1 million approved by voters during Town Meeting in March. The town reworked its plans and drew slightly more than $300,000 from its surplus and undesignated funds to close the gap.

Construction began in late summer, and officials originally hoped to have the bridge functional by now. But the abutment on the Waterman Hill side of the bridge required more work than expected, which contributed to the increased construction time and bumped up costs by another $50,000.