Burton said the delay will be an inconvenience, but it is an issue the village has been dealing with since last summer, when the state closed the bridge to traffic to begin a $13.1 million rehabilitation project.
The closing has forced drivers to find other routes to cross the river between Haverhill and West Newbury. Buses carrying students to nearby Whittier Regional High have been forced to take longer routes.
Burton said the contractor for the project, SPS New England of Salisbury, has been keeping residents of Rocks Village informed of their progress and has been a good neighbor.
”They’ve been very careful to protect the houses in the area, and particularly the Hand Tub House,” Burton said about the historic 1840 building that sits on the Haverhill side of the bridge and once served as a fire house.
The Rocks Village Memorial Association, a 105-year-old organization, was created for the purpose of preserving the history of the village. The association recently received notice that it has officially been designated a nonprofit organization.
”We’ve specifically targeted the 1840 fire house as being in danger of collapsing due to recent problems with its foundation,” Burton said. “We’ve spent $66,000 in grants and money raised to fix the foundation, and the next thing we’re doing is having the roof fixed this summer.”
Burton said the city received a $48,000 grant from the Massachusetts Historical Commission for repairs to the building’s foundation. Other grants totalling $13,000 were received from the Methuen Festival of Trees, which also helped pay for repairs to the foundation. Association members wrote the grants on behalf of the city, which owns the Hand Tub House, and the mayor signed off on the grant applications with the unanimous support of the City Council.
”We recently received notice of a $1,500 grant from Essex Heritage, which will go towards replacing the roof,” Burton said. “Other monies come from yard sales, bake sales, individual donations and other sources.”