Brown Schoolhouse Bridge Q&A: Alternatives

Q1: Why not… a smaller, simpler bridge closer to the stream to lower costs?

A: Such a solution would be in the flood zone and in danger of being carried away. It would be difficult for elders and school groups to approach down the steep banks on either side. It would not afford handicap access or use in emergencies by ATVs. [back to list]

Q2: Why not… a less durable bridge?

A: Such an option would require periodic replacement and a higher level of inspection and maintenance. This option is low-maintenance and has a low impact on taxes. The proposed bridge would have 40-foot galvanized beams, a pressure-treated deck, and aluminum-rails for a 100-year lifespan with minimal maintenance. [back to list]

Q3: Why not… site it somewhere else?

A: Other sites don’t align with existing trails, parking and rights of way and would require development of access to the bridge from the road. [back to list]

Q4: Why not… simply have trail users wade across or use stepping stones?

A: Stepping stones are what have been available; users have found rocks to be slippery, sometimes covered by high water or unstable ice. Many users would be precluded from crossing here: school groups, elders and people with mobility handicaps. [back to list]

Q5: Why not… just accept the collapse of the old bridge and live with it?

A: The absence of a safe crossing cuts off Norwich’s most used trailhead parking lot at Parcel 5 from Norwich’s treasured Bill Ballard Trail. The bridge is an opportunity to extend the enjoyment of that trail to seniors and school groups. [back to list]

Q6: Why not… wait for the resolution of competing, big-ticket climate initiatives?

A: Each proposed initiative should stand on its own merits. The cost to taxpayers of the proposed bridge is sufficiently low that it shouldn’t preclude consideration of other proposals and vice versa. [back to list]

Q7: Why not… make trail users pay?

A: With the receipt of Recreational Trails Program grant funding, the Norwich Trails Committee will pursue matching grants that we expect Norwich trail users will contribute to, helping mitigate any remaining taxpayer costs. [back to list]

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