BOSCAWEN — As a child, Alan Hardy remembers walking across the Boscawen-Canterbury Bridge, but it will soon be removed.
“There was a time when that bridge got a lot of use, back before the interstate came in,” said Hardy, Bowcawen’s land use coordinator.
The 347-foot bridge, designed by engineer and former Concord mayor John Storrs, played an important role in development and transportation history in both towns.
It was built in 1907 and was heavily used in the first half of the last century, Hardy said. But in the mid-1960s, it was closed to traffic.
“We’re not exactly sure why it was closed,” Hardy said. “But it’s in bad shape now.”
It’s in such bad shape that it can’t be saved, he said.
The state’s Division of Historical Resources has said the bridge is beyond rehabilitation and would require a complete replacement.
Officials in both towns say the bridge is a liability, as it could fall into the river if not removed. An engineering study in 2009 found removal as the only feasible option for the structure, one of the state’s last remaining Parker truss bridges.
Residents in both towns voted to pay their share of the $400,000 removal cost last week. In both towns, the state Department of Transportation will reimburse $160,000 of the cost of bridge removal.
With the help of Underwood Engineers of Portsmouth, the towns are preparing to start the bidding process for removal of the bridge.
Bids will be accepted in coming months, Hardy said.