Vt. Covered Bridge Reopens After Costly Crash

The Lincoln Bridge in Woodstock was out of service for seven months

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Woodstock, Vermont, is cheering the recent reopening of a landmark bridge seven months after a crash caused serious damage.

"It's just a throwback to the past, don't you think?" Beth Finlayson of the Woodstock Area Chamber of Commerce said of seeing covered bridges while driving around Vermont. "People are just looking for iconic New England places and feelings. And a covered bridge — you can just picture a horse and buggy going over it."

In May, a driver hauling a landscaping excavator too tall for Woodstock's Lincoln Bridge smashed the timbers, but kept going — taking out support beams the entire length of the bridge.

The driver was ticketed. The structure had been insured, so the town could bring in a specialized contractor to help get it back into working order. At the time of the crash, town officials estimated the cost of the damage at a few hundred thousand dollars.

The Lincoln Bridge reopened last Wednesday, restoring a critical link to people who live in a portion of West Woodstock on the other side of the Ottauquechee River from Route 4.

The Lincoln Bridge is one of three covered bridges in Woodstock.

The community is now asking drivers to help it protect the Lincoln Bridge, Middle Bridge, and Taftsville Bridge from future damage.

"Always obey all traffic signs," said Chief David Green of the Woodstock Fire Department, pleading with people to stay mindful of weight and height restrictions on the historic spans.

Green also reminded drivers not to let technology do all the thinking.

"Don't always trust your GPS that you're going the right route for your size vehicle," Green advised.

Since Route 4 is so popular with skiers and riders, there will be a lot of eyes on the newly-reopened Lincoln Bridge in the coming months.

Vermont often boasts that it is home to more covered bridges per square mile than anyplace else in the country. More than 100 are scattered within the state's borders.

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