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Flanders River bridge reopens

By EKATERINE TCHELIDZE

Chronicle Staff Writer

COVENTRY/COLUMBIA — The Flanders River Road Bridge, which was closed for construction since the beginning of October, has finally reopened.

According to the Columbia town website, the bridge reopened late last month after undergoing an extensive repair and repaving project.

Coventry and Columbia contracted with New England Infrastructure Inc. out of Hudson, Mass., to repair the bridge, which is located between the two towns.

The bridge, built in 1973, goes over the Hop River.

According to Coventry Public Works Director Mark Kiefer, the repairs included removing the old asphalt, inspecting the concrete deck, waterproofing the deck and repaving it.

However, Kiefer said the deck was in a worse shape than expected and it had to be replaced entirely.

Kiefer said he is very satisfied with the job done and it being completed on time.

During the inspection process, the contractor discovered the bridge was lacking a good membrane under it, which is there to protect the concrete from salt, water and other danger.

Then, multiple cars drove over it, despite the bridge being closed, and damaged the membrane even more, which was left exposed in the process of grinding off the pavement.

Although more work had to be done than anticipated, the entire project was finished on time.

“We said we would get it done before Dec. 1 and we did,” Coventry Town Manager John Elsesser said. “The bridge should be set for another 30 years.”

Elsesser said the contractor performed well.

“It was tight and we got it done,” Elsesser said.

According to Kiefer, the total cost of the project was $173,550, with Coventry paying two-thirds, because the larger part of the bridge is located there.

“We worked really well with Coventry and their public works department,” Columbia Town Administrator Mark Walter said. “It was a good example of regional cooperation when two towns got together to complete a project.

 

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