Andover bridge being replaced
Heavy trucks will continue to be able to connect from Route5/Andover Village to the area of North Main Street, following an arrangement among the town, state and Swasey Excavation to replace the Crockett Bridge.
North Main Street, the North Andover Road, Cross Road and the Upton Road form a four-mile loop adjacent to the village, and include two bridges over the Ellis River.
The state’s Whistling (Beckett) Bridge is on North Main Street, where the Wood Products Complex (formerly Andover Wood Products building) is located. The town’s Crockett Bridge is on Cross Road.
The Crockett Bridge is long enough (56 feet) to fall under state jurisdiction for inspection and regulation, according to Andover Selectboard Chair Susan Merrow.
“The state had labeled Crockett as a ‘redundant’ bridge, and has had the plan to close it for a couple years now,” Merrow said last week.
But then a complication developed. “The state notified the town that the Whistling Bridge was to be posted for 12 tons, which would not allow Swasey, the milk truck from Bailey’s or a even a full oil delivery truck to get from north Andover, with both bridges out of commission,” Merrow said.
The posting was scheduled to take place Nov. 8.
The state, said Merrow, “did not realize the importance that [the Crockett Bridge] really has to Andover businesses and residences as a backup.”
A meeting was then arranged among citizens and town and state officials. As a result, Swasey is now replacing the Crockett Bridge utilizing state-supplied engineering and steel. It is expected to be done Nov. 7.
As for The Whistling Bridge, it is on the state list to be upgraded in a few years, Merrow said. In the meantime a temporary, one-lane bridge is expected be erected over it in early November. While that work, and eventually the permanent replacement work, takes place the Crockett Bridge will be available to carry traffic and will again generally serve the town as a second/backup bridge.
Merrow said the only cost to the town for the Crockett Bridge work will be railings.