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Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls to close for repairs next season

The Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, will be closing in October for extensive repairs.
Paul Franz
/
Daily Hampshire Gazette / gazettenet.com
The Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, will be closing in October for extensive repairs.

The Bridge of Flowers in Shelburne Falls, Massachusetts, will close for an extended period this fall so repairs can be made.

The bridge, which features a walkway surrounded by flowers, trees and shrubs, has attracted tourists for decades. It connects Shelburne Falls with the town of Buckland.

A recent engineering study showed the structure needs major attention.

"There is some cracking in the arches that need to be dealt with," said Jan Morin with the Shelburne Falls Fire District, which owns the bridge. "It needs to be resurfaced [and] recoated."

"And then they're going to replace the water main [which] is in that bridge [and] brings the water to Buckland," Morin said. "That's the only source of water to the Buckland side."

Workers and volunteers will first need to remove all the soil and plantings on the bridge.

Morin said the district hopes to start construction in the spring of 2024 and reopen the bridge in the spring of 2025.

She said the state has provided a grant of $2.3 million for repairs, but the project still has to go out to bid.

The head of a volunteer group that takes care of the bridge said she has mixed emotions about the closure, which starts in October.

Annette Szpila, who chairs the Bridge of Flowers Committee, said she's excited because the closure will give volunteers the opportunity to make some changes — but she's also scared.

"It's going to be a whole year without it being open," she said. "What's that going to do for the poor business owners that depend on the tourism for their business success?"

Szpila said among the planned changes are new railings and new lighting.

Before joining New England Public Media, Alden was a producer for the CBS NEWS program 60 Minutes. In that role, he covered topics ranging from art, music and medicine to business, education and politics.