Safety Issues Close Wason Pond Footbridge

By Alex Malm

The town of Chester has closed down the footbridge that connects the parking area to the beach saying that it has been compromised by the heavy rains and not safe to walk across. Photo by Chris Paul

CHESTER – Following torrential rainstorms recently there was damage done across the state from flooding to down power lines and trees due to the wind and rain.
The storm led to the town of Chester to make the decision to close the walking bridge leading to the Wason Pond beach on July 12.
“The ‘walking bridge’ that leads to the beach at Wason Pond has been compromised by the heavy rains and is not safe to traverse, either by vehicle or by foot,” a press release posted on the town’s website stated. “The Fire Department is coning it off – please do not attempt to use it. The beach can still be accessed via the covered bridge and trails.”
The walking bridge in Chester is an issue that the town has been dealing with for many years according to Chris Hadik, the chairman of the Wason Pond Conservation & Recreation Commission.
He said that due to beavers building dams underneath the bridge it has caused issues with water flowing for several years.

A beaver dam has added to the problems with the footbridge at Wason Pond in Chester. The bridge has been closed by the town. Photo by Chris Paul

Most recently the town installed a beaver deceiver, to allow the flow of water to continue to flow despite the beaver dams being there.
Due to the heavy rains it wasn’t enough to combat the effects from the beaver dams causing apparent issues on the bridge forcing the town to make the decision to close the bridge temporarily until they can have it inspected to determine if it’s safe to use.
“It will be inspected after the pond level has lowered and will be repaired or reopened as soon as possible,” the sign on the barrier to the bridge stated. “In the meantime, the beach can be reached via the covered bridge and trails.”
According to Corinna Reishus, the recreation director for the town, the bridge being closed hasn’t impacted any recreation programs.
“As far as our summer program, there has been little impact on our program as we are able to access all areas using the trails,” she said.
Requests for comment to Chester Board of Selectmen Chairman Chuck Myette, and to Chester’s Town Administrator Debra Doda were both unreturned.

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