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The span closest to Robie's Country store is different from the other two. (Melissa Proulx/ Union Leader Correspondent)

Hooksett pedestrian bridge work wrappping up for winter

HOOKSETT ­— Work on the new pedestrian bridge in town will wrap up for the winter, even while a solution to mismatched sections of the bridge is still being sought.

Town Administrator Dean Shankle said work will shut down for the winter once crews finish installing the sewer line. Some of the work will include finishing off the walkway and installing the waterline.

The northern span of the new Lilac Bridge is a different shape than the other two. The steel beams, in general, are thinner and the diagonal ones go in the opposite direction of the ones on the other two spans. There also appears to be a height difference between the spans.

Work was temporarily halted when officials became aware of the difference. Though work started up again, an escrow account was created back in October.

“...When the resolution comes to terms and everybody agrees, then we can issue the payments,” said Finance Director Christine Soucie.

Over the last few months, Shankle has been working to find a solution to the problem.

“We were hoping to have more info back on what the cost would be to make it so it’s all the same size,” Shankle said. “We don’t have those numbers yet.”

The new footbridge will cross the Merrimack River and mirror the shape of the former Lilac Bridge. It will connect Merrimack Street to Riverside Drive near Robie’s Country Store. In all, the entire project is expected to cost about $3.3 million.

This will delay the opening of the bridge as well, which was supposed to be sometime in December. Shankle said work on the bridge should resume in the spring.

Shankle said he has been in touch with the engineering company — Dubois & King, Inc. out of Laconia — about the mismatching pieces, and was told the span was built according to standard processes.

The engineering firm was the one that got the final renderings of the bridge from the design company. Shankle said town officials have also been in touch with that company, who said it was built according to standard process.

Town councilors said that something should be done to fix the problem.

“We don’t want the bridge to be a trivia question for the next 100 years,” said Councilor Marc Miville.

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