ARLINGTON — The Town of Arlington has closed the Benedict Crossing Bridge for the foreseeable future after a state inspection found major issues with the safety of the crossing.
At the Select Board’s meeting Tuesday the board received an update about the failed bridge and voted to close it until further notice.
The Benedict Crossing is located 2.7 miles west of Route 7A between River Road and Route 313 across the Batten Kill.
The bridge is closed to traffic and pedestrian uses and all traffic will have to use the Arlington Covered Bridge to the west or a bridge on River Road closer to town.
The bridge was known to not be in great shape as it’s 100 years old and was due for work in 10 years. However, the severity of the damage, revealed by a routine biannual inspection conducted by the state a decade early caught the town off guard.
Town administrator Nick Zaiac told the board Tuesday night that initial estimates put a temporary fix at a very conservative $100,000 and a permanent fix would be $300,000 or more. The temporary fix would only buy the town about two years.
Zaiac said he alerted emergency personnel of the closure and erected barricades.
This was a failure we knew could happen,” Zaiac said.
Zaiac said the town has four options.
One is the temporary fix, but he said the $100,000 is a “bare minimum” and there are surely more issues that would increase the price as work begins.
“This structure is extremely old,” Zaiac said.
Another option would be to close the bridge permanently and allow the other three bridges along River Road to handle the traffic.
Replace the bridge at a cost of $300,000 to $500,000.
Or, close the bridge until a later date when it could be replaced after funds had been saved or raised.
That is the option the Select Board members chose to do, at least for now.
Board member Cynthia Browning said she believed that made the most sense, to “close it until we can afford to fix it.”
It was also suggested that voters should be asked how badly they want the bridge and whether it’s worth it to spend the money to replace it.
Zaiac said that the way things are now, waiting and saving to be able to afford the replacement would put the bridge on about a 10-year timeline.
The gave board approved for Zaiac notify the state that the town was declining to repair the bridge right away and it would remain closed for the foreseeable future, until the town has a solid plan for replacement.