Josleyn Willscheck and Anthony Iarrapino hit a dead end on their afternoon walk through downtown Montpelier, VT.
“It’s not the end of the world, but it’s just not the perfect walk during the work day,” Willscheck said.
The city closed the pedestrian bridge that connects Route 2 with State Street over the Winooski River, saying it is no longer safe for people to walk on.
“I wouldn’t say the bridge would collapse, but portions possibly,” said Todd Law, the director of Montpelier Public Works.
The bridge is so corroded underneath that holes are popping through. The bridge was built in 1998 at a cost of a quarter of a million dollars. It was expected to last 30 to 40 years. Now, it needs a major makeover.
“The bridge is made of a weathering steel, so it’s supposed to form a rust barrier around the members that protect it from further corrosion. It didn’t seem to protect it.” Law said.
Now the city is trying to find out why the bridge did not hold up.
“One is salt use. The salt adhered to the members and corroded them. Second, we just heard– it’s a fairly new concept to our heads– that there is leaching from the pressure-treated lumber,” Law said.
Law says the city hopes to know in a week or two what it will take to make the bridge usable again. But it’s not expected to be cheap. The tab could exceed $100,000. The city noticed the corrosion several years ago and has set aside $97,000. But officials just realized the severity of the problem.
“I would like to get it done as soon as possible, if that means winter construction,” Law said.
“It’s nice to have a way across that is dedicated solely to bike and foot traffic and not motor vehicles,” Iarrapino said.
The city says the contractor is not at fault.
The foot bridge is part of the city’s bike path.