Sunapee breaks ground for covered bridge

During the week of July 30, the water level in the Sugar River in Sunapee slowed to a trickle and a parade of trucks, front-end loaders and cranes arrived along River Road and Main Street at Sunapee Harbor.  Excitement and curiosity grew.

All was ready, heavy duty machines, experienced hands and precise engineering.

The time had come for the ground breaking for the Sunapee Covered Bridge, a town project approved by the Sunapee board of selectmen and supported by various local committees and groups including Project Sunapee, a local non-profit. Per request of the town, Project Sunapee is serving as fiscal agent for the bridge project.

Local contributions

Under the direction of project manager Brent Stocker, Sunapee, local contractors prepared the foundations, set the precast abutments, and prepared the site for installation of the bridge, which will take place later this fall.

“This was a heartwarming show of generosity and community spirit as individuals and companies donated time and materials to accomplish this,” said Donna Gazelle for Project Sunapee. The value of the contributions is over $15,000.

The local contractors working on the project include Ted Gallup, Robert Gallup, Kevin Barton, Mark Usko, Carroll Concrete, Peter Hill, United Construction, Josh Stocker and Rick Geddes and crew.

The 10-ton abutments, pre-cast by United Concrete Company, Conn., and trucked to Sunapee, were contributed by the Gavin family.

“This was the best show in town to the delight of dozens of onlookers,” said Gazelle.

“Several were so enthusiastic about the project, they wrote checks or made pledges to the project while on site.”

The bridge components are expected to arrive from Western Wood Structures, Oregon, by October 1. The bridge will then be assembled on River Road and placed by crane onto the abutments.

Generous commitments of materials and labor to help offset the cost of this stage of construction is in hand, according to Gazelle.

Now, the final phase of fundraising is underway to cover lighting, signage, landscaping and installation of the stone walkway. Personalized granite stepping stones will be included in the walkway and are available for purchase by the public. An order form for ordering is available at: sunapeebridge.blogspot.com.

Connecting the past with the future

A pedestrian bridge spanning the Sugar River behind the historic Harbor House Livery (Old Town Hall building) is not a new idea. In the mid-80s, a town commissioned study of re-use of the old town hall, the Mirski Report, presented the concept.

What will it look like when complete? A conceptual sketch by James Wassell, Rock Maple Studio, Sunapee, is available on the Sunapee Bridge website. And photos and more information, is available at: sunapeebridge.blogspot.com.

A scale model (shown here) of the Sunapee Pedestrian Covered Bridge was created by Brent Stocker, Stocker Woodworks, Sunapee.

The Sunapee Covered Bridge will provide “an architectural attraction linking the Sunapee Harbor area to the alluring parks along the Sugar River as well as providing access to parking for local historic buildings and other valued surrounding businesses.,” according to the project website.

“This bridge is a major step toward a revitalized Sunapee Harbor/Village, fostering a vibrant mix of community and commercial space in our town center.”

Photos courtesy of Project Sunapee.

>>> For more information, email: sunapeebridge@gmail.com.

>>> Contributions (made payable to Project Sunapee) can be mailed to Project Sunapee, PO Box 602, Sunapee, NH 03782.

One Response

  1. […] display will be the wooden model of the pedestrian covered bridge that will span the Sugar River from River Street to Main Street. The harbor area project is under […]

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