Long Awaited Replacement Bridge Put On Hold

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(Host) A long awaited replacement for the Connecticut River bridges between Brattleboro and Hinsdale, New Hampshire, could be put on hold indefinitely.

The $16.5 million project would replace a pair of 1920’s-era bridges that meet on an island in the river.

Preliminary plans called for a single bridge to be built south of the current crossing, starting in 2014.

Bill Boynton is a spokesman for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation. He says the Hinsdale Bridge is one of many projects tagged for elimination in response to deep cuts proposed by the Legislature.

(Boynton) "We’re looking at a $90 million budget hole that was plugged two years ago by an automobile registration surcharge of $30 per vehicle. The idea was that the legislature would look into long term sustainable financing for the DOT. A committee looked into that and recommended other means, but we’ve had an election and this legislature is not looking at additional revenue at this point."

(Host) Boynton says 100 transportation jobs are also threatened.

Brattleboro Town Manager Barbara Sondag says it’s disappointing that the bridge project may be delayed.

The town was looking forward to reconfiguring the often-congested five-way intersection leading to the current double span.

(Sondag) "It’s not an issue that’s going away for either the state of New Hampshire or the state of Vermont. It’s an old piece of infrastructure that needs to be replaced, and unfortunately every time one of these projects gets delayed the price increases."

(Host) But Sondag adds that New Hampshire is responsible for most of the bridge’s cost. And she says the move reflects the tough decisions facing lawmakers in both states.

The New Hampshire House is expected to vote on its biennial budget bill this week.




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