Labor Day seems like the perfect day to complete a 20 month long project. It was March of 2009 when I first learned that the Waterous Covered Bridge in Pepperell, Massachusetts was being replaced. Since then I’ve made many trips to the site to check on progress and more importantly to try to capture the process in photographs. I’ve made well over 1000 images, but what follows are the best 20 or so. I hope you enjoy this little slice of history…
March 2009 - On my first visit work on the abutments was still in progress. The base of the southern one was hidden by the coffer dam as work began on the stone facing. The northern abutment was covered by a huge white tarp. I believe this was to aid the setting concrete.
March 2009 - A stack of granite curb stones for the roadway leading to and from the new bridge.
April 2009 - The abutments were well along, as work continued adding the stone facings.
April 2009 - The decorative stone work on the abutments was nearly complete.
May 2009 - Stacks of beams that would become the trusses of the new bridge.
August 2009 - The abutments were complete. The temporary dams had been removed and the river was settling into it's new course.
August 2009 - Bridge hardware waiting for the truss work to begin.
February 2010 - This month's visit was during a blowing blizzard. The critical elements of any covered bridge are the trusses since they do the work. In this case a version of the Howe truss system was used, which is fitting since William Howe, the inventor of this system, was a Massachusetts native.
March 2010 - As the weather warmed the pace of work increased and the roof rafters went up.
March 2010 - It's almost a shame to cover the complex, beautiful geometry of the trusses and rafters of the new bridge.
April 2010 - The roof rafters were complete and the plywood of the roof was on. Since the 'covered' in covered bridge is really about protecting the trusses from the weather this still wasn't a 'covered bridge' yet.
April 2010 - The roof was complete.
May 2010 - The siding on both sides of the bridge went up in just a week. Work on the walkways was also underway.
May 2010 - In the middle of this project I converted an older camera to infrared. This is one of my early efforts with my new toy. The siding was complete and visible work at this point was on the guard rails for the walkways on either side.
June 2010 - The temporary bridge that had blocked the west side of the bridge throughout construction finally came down.
June 2010 - After nearly a year and half of watching this bridge being built, this is the first time I've had a clear view of the west side.
June 2010 - Another view of the west side of the new bridge. This one is also done using the infrared camera.
July 2010 - On Friday 7/30 the bridge opened to vehicle traffic for the first time in over two years. I captured this the next morning as this gentleman was kind enough to drive across a couple times for me in his beautiful little convertible.
August 2010 - The bridge has been in regular use for a few weeks now. On my visit this morning I met the Dingee's taking a picture of their 1937 Graham crossing the bridge and they were kind enough to allow me to make a few as well.
September 2010 - Members of the Pepperell Militia stand by as local dignitaries get ready to cut the ribbon at the dedication celebration.
September 2010 - The new bridge is dedicated with this ribbon cutting and is officially named the Pepperell Covered Bridge.
Here’s a few more photos of the beautiful new Pepperell Covered Bridge:
A view of the new Pepperell Covered Bridge showing it's 2010 marker.
The Pepperell Covered Bridge from the middle of the Nashua River.
And here's the finished Pepperell Covered Bridge under a great late summer sky.
To help find the new Pepperell Covered Bridge, or any other covered bridge in the U.S., please visit my other site – CoveredBridgeMap.com.