Freedom—June 19, 2020—A construction start date to replace the Danforth Brook Bridge on Ossipee Lake Road remains in limbo. While that’s disappointing news for Freedom town officials, who wanted to begin the long-delayed project in the spring, it’s great news for Danforth Pond boaters who use the brook to access the larger lake system.
Freedom Town Administrator Ellen White told Ossipee Lake Alliance that the construction delay is the result of a design flaw in one of the bridge’s wing walls.
“It was discovered when the precast shop drawings were being reviewed by the precast manufacturer and CMA Engineers, the town’s construction administration engineering firm,” White said in an email.
An announcement about the delay was subsequently posted on the town website.
The town must now correct the design documents and amend the state wetlands permit. While there’s no timeline for how long those changes will take, White said she’s confident that boaters will have access to the brook at least through the end of July.
“Until we are able to receive the amended wetlands permit and finalize the design corrections, there will be no construction, although we are still on track for the bridge replacement this year, just later than originally anticipated.”
The $1.1 million project was announced last fall after years of delays in obtaining state funding. The structure was built in 1925 and is long past its 50-year life expectancy. That fact was underscored this week by a Danforth Pond boater who said he uses the brook regularly to access Broad Bay.
“The Bridge is a real safety concern for the people that that travel under it and over it,” he said, asking that we not publish his name.
“There are large pieces of cement missing, which exposes metal rods and pins. The exposed metal could hurt a person in a boat, the boat itself, people fishing from the bridge and traffic.”
The plan announced last year was for the project’s engineering firm to establish a work schedule within a window of April through October. The brook will be closed to all boats when work commences, and the road will be narrowed to a single 11 ft.-wide lane.
Until work starts, boat traffic between Danforth Pond and Broad Bay can proceed as usual.
“I have encouraged all that are calling and emailing with inquiries to enjoy some boating season at least until late July,” White said, adding that there will be a public announcement as soon as there is a start date.