, Gloucester, MA

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April 27, 2013

Bridge ramp to be built of wood

After considering a temporary aluminum replacement for the section of the Good Harbor Footbridge that was blown away in this winter’s blizzard, the mayor has opted for wood.

Initially, Mayor Carolyn Kirk had provided two options for the bridge — a $65,000 wooden bridge built by outside contractors or a $20,000 aluminum option that could be attached, then folded up and moved when a dangerous storm approaches.

But the Department of Public Works is now stepping up to build the wooden replacement ramp from Nautilus Road to the main bridge as a new temporary solution, at a cost of less than $6,000 for materials.

“The aluminum span idea was worth considering, but I felt I needed some input quickly,” Kirk wrote in today’s Mayor’s Desk column for the Times. “It wasn’t soon after that the responses, questions and ideas started pouring in.”

While many people sent the mayor emails and photos or called in support of a wooden bridge, many noted that $65,000 seemed a bit steep a price to pay an outside company for nostalgia, Kirk said.

”Cost is clearly a factor that is on people’s minds. $65,000 seemed to be outrageous for the (temporary) wooden fix,” Kirk wrote.

In her column, which appears in full on Page 8, the mayor notes that the city needs to begin planning for the permanent bridge solution too, saying the Conservation Commission insists this repair be the “last temporary fix.”

”The city needs to come back with a permanent plan that addresses the resource area, takes into consideration the structural integrity of the rest of the bridge, and perhaps is redesigned to withstand the types of storms and tidal surges we are experiencing,” the mayor said.

Public Works Director Mike Hale said Friday he has already ordered the bridge materials for the temporary design.

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