Thank you to Steve Lindsey and Chuck Redfern for their recent Letters to The Sentinel calling to task the column by John McGauley ridiculing the planned reuse of an old steel bridge, the long span Prowse Bridge, from Londonderry to span 101 and connect the Cheshire Trail Rail bike path to the Arch Bridge to significantly enlarge the Transportation Heritage Trail and beyond. I think it’s a brilliant recycling solution.
Until the 1970s, a steel railroad bridge spanned the 101 adjoining the Arch Bridge, and carried staggering loads. It was a great gateway to the Keene valley — like a triumphal arch to the industrial age that built Keene. Unfortunately, it was a short span that was not wide enough for modern traffic and had to be removed as it could not be widened. The Prowse is plenty wide.
At the availability and price of steel today, I suspect the city got a good deal for the steel and the fact that all the components have been fabricated as a bridge — huge added value. Yes, there are significant costs to ship and erect the parts, but there will be significant value added to the community by extending the reach of the Keene bike paths.