GREENFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – One of the few covered bridges left in western Massachusetts is now open to vehicle traffic. The Pumping Station Covered Bridge (also known as the Eunice Williams Covered Bridge) opened to traffic on Thursday morning, ending a three year-long effort to save the bridge.
The span over the Green River was knocked off its abutments by Tropical Storm Irene in the summer of 2011, which caused widespread flooding in Franklin County.
Some residents told 22News that this bridge is not only historic, but plays a major role in the community. This is a major route out of the northern part of Greenfield, and as the mayor said it connects the east and the west sides of Greenfield. So, a lot of biking happens here, and there are bike races that come through here. It’s an enormously important area,” said Marian Kelner of Greenfield.
The Green River Covered Bridge was built back in 1870; however, in 1969 the bridge was burned down by vandals. It wasn’t until 1972 that a group of volunteers came together to rebuild it.
Bernie Schatz was one of those workers. He says they didn’t have a lot back then, but they worked with what they had. “Well, most of it was done by hand and we had some power tools that were donated by the Millers Falls Tool Company, the saws and things like that.”
Even though newer technology was used in this one-million-dollar restoration project, the Green River Bridge still maintains its 19th Century look. One of the contractors told 22News, he wouldn’t be surprised if the bridge is still standing hundreds of years from now.