Historic Milford bridge is a hazard

MILFORD – The old green bridge at Jones Crossing is in danger of falling into the Souhegan River and is now off limits to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.

Milford Department of Public Works Director Rick Riendeau told selectmen Monday night that the New Hampshire Department of Transportation has called the bridge an imminent hazard and has already approved the town’s application for construction.

“The state is very adamant we get it done very quickly,” Riendeau said.

The state will pay 80 percent of the cost, but the cost is not known yet, he said.

The construction schedule begins with stabilizing the bridge so it doesn’t fall into the river, he said. The second phase will be either to rehabilitate and reuse, rehabilitate and relocate or rehabilitate and recycle, the bridge’s parts.

There is a good possibility that work would be done this winter, which would save money because construction companies need the work.

The bridge was recently fenced in to prevent people from entering it.

“It will be safe for workers” to cross, but not for pedestrians, said Town Administrator Guy Scaife.

The iron bridge is considered historic and was replaced about 10 years ago by a new span called the Veterans’ Memorial Bridge, linking Route 101 and 101A to North River Road.

According to the town history, the current span was built sometime after 1910 when an older wooden bridge burned. It was refurbished in 1956.

“It is said that in 1760 Col. John Goffe crossed here on the way to Crown Point, and Gen. John Stark on his way to Bennington in 1777,” according to “The Granite Town.”