Thursday, July 25, 2024

News and Ideas Worth Sharing

THEN & NOW: Brookside Road Bridge

Brookside Road was previously closed in 1948 when a flood swept away an iron bridge, as shown in the photograph below.

The Brookside Road truss-style bridge over the Housatonic River in Great Barrington was recently shut down. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation deemed it unsafe. Brookside Road is at the south end of town and runs east to Brush Hill Road in Sheffield and also intersects with Boardman Street. Estimates suggest it may take four years to get the bridge replaced, causing major inconvenience and safety concerns for those who reside in the area. The population also increases significantly during the summer months at nearby Eisner Camp.

Brookside Road was previously closed in 1948 when a flood swept away an iron bridge, as shown in the photograph above. It was quickly replaced by a temporary, so-called “Bailey” bridge shown immediately below. That temporary bridge was then replaced with a permanent bridge the following year.

THEN: A temporary “Bailey” bridge was promptly installed at the river crossing. A new bridge was completed the next year. Photo courtesy of the Great Barrington Historical Society.

The recently closed bridge is also shown below. According to town officials, a temporary span is not recommended. Apparently, installing a temporary crossing could jeopardize funding sources and further complicate bridge replacement.

NOW: The present-day bridge on Brookside Road has been deemed unsafe and closed to motor vehicle traffic. Photo by Gary Leveille.
NOW: A little-known concrete cow underpass was first installed over a century ago next to the bridge. It is unused today, but it originally allowed cows to safely pass from one field to another. Photo by Gary Leveille.
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