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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Residents determined to rebuild after fire

Friday, April 29, 2005

- Public meeting set for 7 p.m. Saturday at Willow Rose in Bridgeton to discuss rebuilding the covered bridge that was destroyed by fire early Thursday morning.

The citizens of Bridgeton are not going to let the loss of their 137-year old historic bridge destroy the town, or their spirit.

"There's a lot of determination from the town about rebuilding," Bridgeton Covered Bridge Association (BCBA) President Mike Rowe said. "People from all over have expressed interest in helping. We've even had carpenters drop off their business cards today and offer free labor in the rebuilding effort."

The good news amid this tragedy is that rebuilding this bridge could be more feasible and cheaper than another bridge rebuilding effort the community has been involved with for three years.

Concerned citizens and the BCBA have been raising funds to replace the Jeffries Ford bridge a few miles west of Bridgeton that was lost to arson in April 2002. That bridge has to be built according to today's specs for a bridge open to automotive traffic, which hinders the authenticity of a creating a replica of a covered bridge.

"Being a foot traffic bridge only, our hope is that rebuilding the Bridgeton bridge would be more authentic because there would be no need for the updated materials like steel beams and such," said Rowe.

To allow the public's input into a discussion and idea session about rebuilding efforts, the BCBA has scheduled a meeting this Saturday at 7 p.m. at Willow Rose in downtown Bridgeton.

"We want to invite anyone who is interested to come and share their ideas or skills at the meeting," Rowe said. "The town is named Bridgeton, it needs its bridge back."

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