hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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May 23, 2013

Neighbors: Rocks Village Bridge delay a nuisance, but tolerable

Plan celebration when Rocks Village repairs complete

Rocks Village neighbors said their bridge being closed for an additional month for repairs will be a nuisance, but something they can deal with.

In fact, they plan to hold a celebration inside the village’s historic Hand Tub House shortly after the Rocks Village Bridge reopens. The group was planning to hold the celebration following the originally scheduled reopening of the bridge in late August.

Wimberley Burton, a resident of the historic Rocks Village and an officer in the Rocks Village Memorial Association, said the public will be invited to the celebration and to view the history of Rocks Village through displays of photographs of old houses and how the village looked in the late 1800s. Food and beverages will be served. Donations supporting repairs to the Hand Tub House will be accepted and there may be raffles as well.

Last week, state transportation officials said the discovery of very small cracks in a key component of the historic bridge linking Haverhill and West Newbury required more work than expected. Michael Verseckes, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, said problems were found with the bridge’s “track chair,” which he said is a cast iron ring upon which sits a variety of equipment. He said the primary purpose of the track chair is to support the swing span, or the bridge’s movable center section.

When workers dismantled the machinery, they discovered that the track chair contained micro cracks that could not be readily identified during the initial visual inspections. Verseckes said it required designing, fabricating and installing a new track chair, which added time to the project.

Verseckes said the unexpected additional work resulted in the reopening of the bridge being delayed by about one month. The bridge is now expected to reopen in late September.

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