Woodstock considers footbridge over dam
Woodstock selectmen are pondering whether a dam reconstruction project on Lake Christopher should include a footbridge across the top of the dam.
Engineer Jim Sysko met with the board last week to present his preliminary plans for fixing the leaking, century-old dam just off Rowe Hill Road. The estimated cost for the work is currently $135,000.
The plan calls for adding four feet of width to one side of the existing dam spillway, and 10 inches of height to the sidewalls (see illustration, Page 3).
Sysko also presented drawings of an arched footbridge crossing over the middle of the dam. The added cost for the pressure-treated wood structure would be approximately $2,000 to $3,000, he said.
The bridge would serve a purpose other than just aesthetics. In order to prevent roots from dead trees from causing instability in the ground around the dam, some existing trees would be removed and grass planted and mowed. To access the side of the dam away from the nearby public parking lot for mowing would require either a bridge or permission to use the abutter’s driveway.
Larry Risko, a relative of the abutter, attended the board meeting. He said he was not enthusiastic about the bridge. “It invites folks over on to our side,” he said.
But Sysko said the bridge could be gated off and only used for mower access.
Risko said he would be receptive to that idea. He said he would like to see the dam repaired.
Sysko also said he would recommend the removal of stands of cattails that have grown up on either side of the dam over the past 15 years, with permission from the Maine Department of Environmental Protection. He said removal would bring back two swimming/wading areas for local residents.
He also suggested keeping as many trees near the dam as possible, for aesthetic reasons.
With landscaping around the structure, said Selectman Ron Deegan, “It would look nice even without trees.”
Sysko asked the board to consider the bridge over the next couple of weeks and then give him their input, so he can finalize the plans by early January.
Selectmen hope to put out bid requests to contractors and have a construction cost ready by the annual town meeting in March.