Hat’s off to the extraordinary people of Chester and surrounding towns!
Without you we never would have had a chance (or a reason) to get this beautiful bridge built and across the water.
All with good humor, an historically low bandaid count, hundreds of hours of hundreds of local hands (and backs!) in the project mix.
And the TFG crew was spot on, too.
Moving the bridge along the roadway went so smoothly that the dogs were bored. We’d borrowed a truckload of the 8′ sections of out feed roller from Local Hero Dick Lewis. Four of them are truck-strapped to the bottom chord – the track carefully swept and made painstakingly level – we jacked the bridge down off it it’s assembly blocking onto the wood runways.
A single Tirfor, configured for a single line pull, was anchored to the far shore via a giant white pine, with the pull aligned align the bridge axis via single come-along side pull of not so much tension.
In moments there was a long line of locals wanting a turn at the winch. We began of course with out host Chuck Myette, who immediately tried to find every single contributor to the project a spot in the line.
Our own Katie Hill down from Burlington (VT) for 10 days on the TFG crew took the bridge for a spin and the whole business crept towards the far abutment.
Touch-down which really occurred hours later, was (as we had hoped) anticlimactic. No drama, no trauma! The jacking team gingerly raised the bridge enough to allow the insertion of a large crew dedicated to falsework removal.
Don Seela and crew had spent nearly a week building this robust understructure that was rapidly dismantled piece by piece, and tossed into the pond upstream. Here he is taking credit for the entire project. His next project is in Haiti.
At this point the bridge is 15″ higher than it wants to be at the end of the job.
Upstream, 10×10 wrestling began, with much hilarity.
Once the falsework was removed, the jacking crew returned to lower the bridge in two inch increments onto the Locust blocks and the 2011 dimes provided by the community of Chester for this purpose. Slow and steady work with Dr Brungraber’s robust Buda jacks.
Meanwhile, everyone else in town pitched in to clean up the site and sort out the tools.
Monday morning at dawn just a few of us left had an opportunity to see the first peaceful moment on this site in ten days.
The cedar shingle job will start up in a day or two, when the rest of the materials are delivered. We built some staging to support that effort and loaded it up with shingles. They’ll run up three feet or so and then switch to roof brackets, making room for another team to install the siding (all sawn from the site). Once the portal trim is done, I expect there will be a quiet dinner in Chester involving some very fine, and very exhausted people.
We did it again, but never by ourselves. Good work in a good place, for a good purpose, with some great people.