Guilford bridge reopens to cheers

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GUILFORD — The end of detours can be cause for celebration.

The Route 5 bridge in Algiers Village in Guilford opened early Friday night after being closed since July 21, a press release announced. That was four days ahead of schedule.

"The day the last section of concrete bridge deck was placed onto bridge abutments, a process that took 18 hours to complete, the onlookers cheered," said Jill Barrett, public information officer for the Vermont Agency of Transportation. "This was a team effort that went as planned."

Vernon-based Renaud Brothers constructed the new bridge for about $2.5 million.

Town Administrator Peder Rude said residents south of the bridge, with homes on Coolidge Highway, are "very happy" about the news. While the bridge was closed, trips for them required an additional half hour to 45 minutes.

"I bet those folks are very happy one lane is open at the time," Rude said. "It's better than not having the bridge. It looks really nice and I'm sure that people are going to be happy about having a sidewalk."

The original bridge, built in 1925, had been deteriorating. The new one "has wider travel lanes and will better accommodate bicyclists and pedestrians," according to the press release. The bridge's shoulders are 4 feet wider and a new sidewalk was constructed. The previous bridge had no sidewalk and the shoulders were only 1 foot wide.

Renaud Brothers and the Agency of Transportation "worked very hard to get the bridge opened four days early," Barrett told the Reformer.

"All of us involved appreciate the understanding shown by the residents during the construction phase," she said. "While the bridge is open to all travelers, the contractor will remain at the site in the coming weeks to complete the project."

Rude said he's only spoken with a few people since the bridge opened, since the town office was closed on Friday and he had been at an outing on Monday.

"But everyone is very pleased with what it looks like," he said. "They said the Renaud employees were really nice about it. It was obvious that Renaud did their best and did it as quickly as possible."

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or @CMaysBR.

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