On May 11, a group of Andover residents met with Professional Engineer Tim Dunn and Design Engineer Hans Weber of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT). This was the second public hearing meeting between DOT and Andover residents on the topic of the coming Andover bridge project, near the Franklin line on Route 11.
The bridge in question was built in the 1920s and has reached the end of its 100-year design life. It is actually two closely spaced bridges, one that carries Route 11 over the Northern Rail Trail, and another just a few feet beyond that carries the highway over Sucker Brook.
As a result of the degraded condition of the bridge, plus the hazards caused by the S-curve in the Highway, the bridge was placed on the “red list” in 2022, and a new, straightened route across the rail trail and brook was selected. The design calls for “stacking” the highway bridge 23 feet above the rail trail bridge over the Sucker Brook crossing, a decision that reduces the cost below what two bridges with separate locations would cost.
The total price tag is about $8.3 million, of which 80 percent will be paid with federal funds, 20 percent by state highway funds, and zero by Andover town funds. The proposed 235-foot single span will have straightened approaches passing just south of the current roadway, and the clearances from the rail trail will be large enough to keep options for future rail service open.
The old bridges and roadway will be removed and the land restored to a natural state. DOT anticipates a one-month closure of the rail trail while the bridge is being replaced. Landowners whose land will be touched by the project will be compensated, and DOT is aware that others whose enterprises are directly affected may be entitled to some compensation, as well.
Jamie Sikora, the NHDOT and the Federal Highway Administration’s area engineer and contact person, has made a request for consultation with citizen participants. Jamie’s contact info: Jamie.Sikora@nulldot.gov; (603) 410-4870.
The next meeting for the Route 11 bridge will be held at Town Hall, June 27, 6 PM. Construction on this project should begin in Spring, 2026.
A second red-listed bridge spans the Blackwater River on Route 4, between Fenvale and Timber Northeast. This project will replace the degraded bridge and improve approximately 1,100 feet of approach to address flooding issues. The first public hearing on the second bridge project will be held at Andover Elementary/Middle School on Thursday, July 20, from 5 to 8 PM.