BELMONT — A 50-foot-long section of a wooden pedestrian bridge that will eventually span the Tioga River arrived in town yesterday and was lifted by crane to its temporary resting place near the town's Public Works Garage, where it joined three roof sections of the bridge which have already arrived.
Two more sections of the bridge will be moved from Dover this week and they will also be used for a separate span over the Tioga River.
Conservation Commission Chairman Ken Knowlton said that what once was a 154-foot long covered pedestrian bridge, which originally spanned the Cocheco River, was bought by the commission for $1 from the city of Dover after efforts by Dover residents to keep in that community and use it as a centerpiece for a park fell short.
Built in 1996 at a cost of $162,845, the eight-foot wide bridge was removed with a crane in 2010 and the city of Dover was looking to sell it in order to make way for a waterfront development.
Knowlton said that contractor Mark Roberts has been in charge of bringing the bridge, which had to be disassembled, to town and developed a scope of work to move everything to Belmont with a price of $12,600 for moving and about $10,000 for using two cranes to place two sections of the bridge over the river.
Knowlton said that one 50 foot span will cross the river just north of the Belmont Mill parallel to the Rte. 140 bridge over the Tioga River and that the other two spans, which will total 100 feet, will be put over the river about a half mile to the west.
He said that the first bridge will be located at what was once the terminus of the Belmont Spur Line, which brought trains to the Belmont Village area, and that the longer bridge which cross the river at a point where there was once was a bridge for the spur line.
The commission is currently looking for ways to raise funds for the cost of putting the bridges in place, as well as for a trail system which will be built along the right of way of the former Belmont Spur rail corridor, which is widely used by snowmobilers.
The commission earlier this month voted to spend $5,500 to have Hoyle, Tanner and Associates evaluate the bridge for use at those two river crossings.
Knowlton said the commission is looking for grants and donations in order to complete the project and is hoping to be able to start work on the first part of the project next summer.
CAPTIONS for Lift Bridge:
Ken Knowlton, Mark Roberts and Woody Fogg maneuver a section of a covered bridge which will eventually span the Tioga River onto supports. The bridge, which was bought by the Belmont Conservation Commission from Dover for $1, is being brought to Belmont in sections. (Roger Amsden photo for the Laconia Daily Sun)