Efforts to protect the Miller’s Run Covered Bridge gained urgency

Efforts to protect the Miller’s Run Covered Bridge gained urgency Tuesday after an oversized vehicle once again struck the bridge. Town Administrator Justin Smith said that plans to build overhead clearance barriers on either end of the bridge will likely be fast-tracked after the accident. The barriers were conceived a year and a half ago to prevent vehicles that exceed the 11-foot-9 height limit from colliding with the historic 145-year-old span. The 2022 municipal budget included $16,000 to design, build and install the barriers. However, the project was shelved due to a 200-percent increase in steel prices. Following renewed discussions last year, Town Meeting this month approved additional funding for the estimated $30,000 project. NSA Industries has already developed a project design and price quote and would be in line to manufacture the steel barriers. The barriers were deemed necessary because tall vehicles frequently collide with the bridge despite signage in both directions. It was struck three times in 2021. Repairs typically run $1,100 per incident. Select Board Chair Chris Thompson previously said leaving the bridge unprotected was an invitation for disaster. The barriers would continue town efforts to protect the Miller’s Run Covered Bridge, also known as the Bradley Covered Bridge. Two years ago, the Select Board increased fines for height and weight violations at Miller’s Run Covered Bridge to $5,000 (first offense), $10,000 (second offense), and $15,000 (third offense). Plans to add surveillance cameras to capture offenders’ license plates have also been considered.