Whittier Covered Bridge Closed Due To Safety Concerns

Ossipee — September 4, 2006 — The town’s cherished covered bridge was called a faltering health and safety hazard and will be entirely closed off from the public behind a wooden stockade fence.

Until this bridge spanning the Bearcamp River can be made safe, the pretty piece of history with the bad roof will remain declared unfit even for foot traffic. It has been closed to cars ever since selectmen months ago realized the extent of the damage wreaked by the elements.

The board Monday, Aug. 28, heard from Robert Gillette, a resident who has investigated safety worries and repair estimates for the town. Gillette said several experts called for the immediate closure of the bridge.

Gillette said he was instructed “that indeed, it does represent a hazard to public safety and should be closed to the public, not just to vehicles, but with a chain link or public fence.” Meanwhile, as reluctant selectmen are working on a plan to come up with cash for repairs, they say they won’t break the bank on the blockade.

“If it’s got to be done it’s got to be done,” Selectman Peter Olkkola said of the hasty closure.

Eying tall wood stockade fencing over steel for its equal practicality and lower cost, said Selectman Harry Merow: “Whatever’s cheapest.”

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