Vt communities rebuild their covered bridges - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt communities rebuild their covered bridges

Woodstock, Vermont - September 28, 2011

Video of the Bartonsville Bridge being swept downstream on that first day of Irene was perhaps the most widely-viewed, the most viral video from Vermont.

But it was not the only one. The Bowers Bridge in Brownsville, just west of Windsor, was swept off its foundation, too. It now lies about 100 yards downstream on the front lawn of a neighbor.

"We've looked at 57 bridges in the six worst hit counties so far. Of the 57, approximately 20 are damaged," said Scott Newman, the historic preservation officer for AOT.

Wednesday, Newman met Glenn Seward, first select man in West Windsor, which has already decided to spend $150,000 to repair the Bowers Bridge.

Reporter Marselis Parsons: So what's so special about covered bridges?

Scott Newman: They're representative of local ingenuity. The material was harvested locally from forests, timber was abundant. They've survived 150 years despite three floods; in the 20s, the 30s and Irene. We used to replace them in the name of progress, but now we recognize they are valuable... We have more covered bridges per square mile than anywhere in the United States.

People like Sandy and Tony Wells of Colorado Springs, Colo., are among the thousands who come to Vermont, in part to see covered bridges against a backdrop of fall foliage.

Sandy Wells: We heard on the national news that there was massive devastation and we were worried that Vermont had disappeared.

Parsons: And you found?

Sandy Wells: We found the damage was limited. Where there was damage it was severe, but the roads were repaired and in very good shape. Quite to our surprise-- very good condition. Lots of hard work went into putting the roads into good shape.

Parsons: Why come to Vermont?

Tony Wells: For the foliage, for our anniversary, as well as all the covered bridges. All that Vermont has to offer.

It is part of our history.

The good news is bridges like the Taftsville Bridge just outside of Woodstock will be fixed. But most of that work won't even start until next spring.

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