Maine museum installs covered bridge

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To reach the bridge site, the covered bridge rebuilt by the WW&F Railway Museum had to be moved about 3 miles along a highway.
Brendan Barry, WW&F Railway Museum
After being backed across a temporary bridge, the covered bridge will be jacked into location once that temporary structure is removed.

Brendan Barry, WW&F Railway Museum

ALNA, Maine — A year of intense effort by volunteers and contractors paid off Saturday for the Wiscasset, Waterville & Farmington Railway Museum when a covered bridge was moved by road from the museum site and positioned over Trout Brook. The bridge, a 48-foot Howe pony truss covered bridge, was formerly on a Boston & Maine branch line in New Hampshire and was donated to the museum by the National Society for the Preservation of Covered Bridges.

The bridge was placed over Trout Brook, where the original WW&F Railway crossed the stream, almost 13 months from the date of the first work, test borings at the bridge site. The bridge will be jacked down onto its seats in the next few days, after the temporary bridge is removed.

The bridge was delivered to the museum's parking lot in kit form in early October 2017. Over the next several months, volunteers, with assistance from contractors, reassembled the trusses and stood them up, installed the deck beams and then sheathed the entire bridge with new tongue-and-groove planks, staining them barn red.

During the winter months, volunteers cleared about 1,000 feet of right-of-way from Route 218 to the bridge site, cutting trees, pulling stumps, and removing the downed trees. The pace of construction picked up as spring arrived. Four new culverts were placed on the right-of-way before new sub-grade material was brought in.

Two temporary steel truss bridges were fabricated to facilitate backing the bridge into position, since there was no room to swing it into place with a crane. Volunteers built two timber cribs to support the approach spans for the bridge, and on Aug. 11, the first of 22 piles was driven. Work at the site had to follow strict rules the surrounding land is part of a forest conservancy and the stream itself is a listed stream.

Volunteers and contractors also cleared and graded about 2,000 feet of the right-of-way north toward the bridge site, which included repairing a section of the grade that had slid down the hillside, building a retaining wall at another location, and installing a half-dozen new culverts. During the upcoming Fall Work Weekend, Oct. 5-8, volunteers hope to build about 1,800 feet of new track northward toward the bridge site, with the goal of reaching the bridge in 2019. Other volunteers have operated trains on weekends and managed several special events including a second successful World War I encampment and three evening concerts.

— Updated at 12:05 p.m. on Sept. 10 to correct the name of the organization which donated the bridge to the museum.

NEWSWIRETrains News Wire

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