The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, November 14, 2008

Trails Committee to replace Greenough bridge

The footbridge at Greenough Pond is shown before Trails Committee members made temporary repairs last Saturday. (Photo by Anne Marie Brako)

At last Friday’s meeting, Carlisle Trails Committee Chairman Henry Cox reported that the Billerica Conservation Committee has given the green light for Carlisle to remove and replace a failing footbridge at Greenough Pond. While the Greenough Conservation Land belongs to the town of Carlisle, the footbridge lies in Billerica, on an adjoining eight-acre parcel owned by the Carlisle Conservation Foundation.

The bridge project will be funded by $2,200 from the Sudbury, Assabet and Concord Wild and Scenic River Small Grants Program. On Saturday afternoon, Trails Committee members inspected the footbridge. In addition to Cox, Louise Hara, Steve Tobin, Bert Willard, George Fardy and Kevin Smith showed up with rubber boots, boards and a hammer for on-the-spot repairs.

“We can start work on Tuesday,” said Cox at the Friday meeting, and asked “Or do we want to wait until spring?” Most of the board concurred that it was too late in the year with upcoming holidays to try to rally sufficient volunteer support. However, Hara spoke up, “But it’s not safe” and felt the group should at least look at the bridge before deciding. Hara noted later that she had seen that the bridge needed repair earlier, but had not visited the site since vandalism was reported there in the late spring. At least one youth was found responsible for the vandalism and has enrolled in the Restorative Justice program.

Upon visiting the site on Saturday, the group conferred about the instability of the footbridge, which is approximately 42 feet in length. Fardy, Tobin and Smith waded into the water, and were able to stabilize the existing bridge by adding ground supports and boards and nailing in key weak junctions. Five gaps remain on the bridge surface where vandals had removed rotting boards, but Fardy offered to come back with more wood and to nail in boards to fill in the missing spots.

“Now that we’ve secured it, we’re comfortable enough that it’ll be okay,” said Hara. The original footbridge boards are covered in slimy algae, and with many of the handrails removed, people using the footbridge will need to show caution through the winter, but the structure seems solid enough to last until it is replaced next spring. The Trails Committee members agreed on a plan for the new footbridge which will be lower than the existing one and have three bumpers in the water, as well as a bumper at either end. ∆

© 2008 The Carlisle Mosquito