Sep 9, 2015 3:13 PM

NH1 News Investigates Busted Bridges: Sandown residents refuse to pay for repairs

SANDOWN - Another New Hampshire bridge closed again after NH DOT officials deemed the bridge unsafe for travel.

It’s the Phillips Road bridge over the Exeter River.

Jiletta Jarvis lives in Sandown and happy the bridge is closed.

“The bridge could have collapsed, and people could have been on it at the time,” said Jarvis said.

It's the worst case scenario that Jarvis is thinking about - and not only for her, but also for her 6-year-old son, Quinn.

“Who knows?” Jarvis said. “One of the other bridges on that list could collapse.”

The bridge was built back in the late 1970’s and town officials say it’s been rusting for quite some time.

Last month's inspection also concluded that one corner of the bridge could no longer support weight.

Town administrator Lynne Blaisdell believes there was no threat to the public.

“I don't think that the public was in danger, no,” Blaisdell said.

All reports from the state before this, she says, didn’t have a sense of urgency.

But this is yet another bridge on the state’s so-called “red list”.

That means it’s one of more than 340 municipal-owned bridges and about 150 state-owned bridges.

It will cost nearly a $1 million to replace it, and some residents don’t think it’s worth it.

When we asked if it was a matter of saving money over safety, Blaisdell said, “Well, they probably weren't fully aware, nor where we.”

Blaisdell admits that it the bridge could have potentially posed a scary situation for residents.

“Sometimes you just don't know the exact moment it's going to let go,” she said.

And that leaves residents like Jiletta Jarvis frustrated.

We asked her if she could understand where they’re coming from with when it comes to repairing or replacing the bridge.

She said, "Oh I understand where they're coming from. I may not agree with it.”

So then what's next?

Repair or replace or nothing at all?

There’s no word on when the town will make that decision.

However, Sandown will have to soon because the town has two bridges on the red list.


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