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Raising the roof of a Vermont treasure

Major fixes to historic covered bridge in Charlotte

The historic circa-1849 Quinlan's Covered Bridge is getting a much needed facelift this spring and summer. The heavily traveled bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.  Photo taken May 13.

The historic circa-1849 Quinlan's Covered Bridge is getting a much needed facelift this spring and summer. The heavily traveled bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Photo taken May 13. Photo by Louis Varricchio.

— The historic circa-1849 Quinlan's Covered Bridge is getting a much needed facelift this spring and summer. The $872,000 renovation project began during the first week off March. The heavily traveled bridge is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

The bridge, also known as either the Lower Lewis Creek Covered Bridge or Sherman Covered Bridge, is located in rural Charlotte. It spans Lewis Creek just off Spear Street Extension on Monkton Road in southern Chittenden County.

The multiple names of the bridge have a curious history: Quinlan, according to state historical records, is linked to John Quinlan who lived nearby; the Sherman family also lived in the neighborhood and owned and operated a large sawmill. The Sherman mill stood along the creek near the bridge during the 1800s.

Motorists are being detoured a long distance, via North Ferrisburgh, in order to cross Lewis Creek during the construction project. While an inconvenience to residents and tourists for the time bring, the bridge is expected to reopen to traffic in August.

Wright Construction of Mt. Holly, Vt., a firm which specializes in covered-bridge restoration, used a large crane to raise the roof this week.

According to Joe Poston, senior project manager at Wright Construction, the roof was lifted two feet in order for construction workers to replace the span's top chord.

"We're replacing the bridge's top and bottom chords as well as the wooden truss," Poston said. "In addition were replacing the bottom steel beams—which were installed during the 1970s—with heavy duty galvanized steel beams. With these new beams, the bridge will be able to safely support school buses and town trucks."

Rebuilding venerable New England covered bridges is old hat for Wright Construction.

In 2011, the skilled Rutland County firm restored the Gifford Covered Bridge in Randolph, Vt. At the same it's working on the Charlotte bridge, a company team is renovating what is known as "the Mother of New England Covered Bridges", the nearly 400-foot-long, historic Bath Village Bridge in New Hampshire.

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