Green Bridge removed in pieces

MILFORD – Both of them had become incon­spicuous. Trees and brush hid the Jones Crossing bridge and the Prospect Street water tower blend­ed into the tall pines that surround it.

But both historic struc­tures are being torn down this week.

Workers from George Cairns & Sons used big hydraulic shears to cut up the bridge into pieces and then pulled the pieces onto North River Road.

The bridge, also known as the Green Bridge, spans the Souhegan River and once linked North River Road with Route 101 and 101A. It was replaced by the Veterans Memorial Bridge about 10 years ago.

Last summer the state ordered the town to bar it to pedestrians and bi­cycles, saying it could fall into the river.

This section of Milford has long been known as Jones Crossing, and it is said that Gen. John Stark crossed at this shallow part of the river in 1777. The first bridges were a series of foot bridges fol­lowed by a single truss-covered bridge that burned in 1910. The Green Bridge was its replace­ment, and in 1956 it under­went extensive repairs, according to the town his­tory.

The Vinagro Corp. of Johnston, R.I., brought an excavator to bring down the town’s 126-year-old Prospect Street water tower, located near the Ledgewood assisted living facility.

The tower stood 70 feet and needed extensive re­pairs and was essentially made redundant when the town built the 1.35-million-gallon Holland tank 10 years ago.

"We knew it was suffi­cient for the town," said David Boucher, the town’s water utilities director.

Built in 1889, the Pros­pect Street tank was near­ly destroyed in the Hurri­cane of 1938.

A 1939 report prepared by the Milford Water Stor­age Committee says that during the Hurricane of 1938 the standpipe, as it was called, would have been blown down if it had not been nearly full of water.

"The hurricane strained the rivets to such extent that numerous leaks were started, There are now some 50 or 60 places on the sides of the standpipe that show where leakage has occurred. The leaks have been stopped for the present by caulking the joints."

At the time, the source of the tank’s water was from wells on South Street, about three-quarters of a mile from Union Square and water from several wells were pumped to a treatment plant to remove excessive iron.