Vol. IV No. 15 8/1/2023
My neighbor dropped in for a chat. He is an engineer who graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) with a degree in Environmental Engineering. He followed with a master's degree and a forty-year professional career. Now retired, Alan Wilken is an avid and accomplished bicyclist. He rides all over our village and notices. He came to discuss the Curtisville Bridge.
In the March issue of Stockbridge Updates, Town Administrator Michael Canales reported on the Curtisville Bridge. Constructed in 1842, it is among the oldest stone-arch bridges in Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) required the town to close the bridge in 2012. An engineering report from Foresight Land Services, Inc. and JDB Consulting Engineers was done in 2015, and they made a site visit in 2020. Both determined the bridge was significantly deteriorated — perhaps had outlived its usefulness.
Alan was more optimistic. He thought there might be other choices for saving that fine old bridge. Alan brought his ideas to Patrick White. He was thrilled, "Patrick listened."
"Get a second opinion" Patrick advised.
Alan did. He contacted a number of fellow engineers and found two experts on historic bridges. They visited Stockbridge, inspected the bridge, and offered alternatives for saving the historic structure. Now our village has choices.
We are blessed, and always have been, with bright, talented, and engaged village residents.
Wilken is a neighbor who stopped in and an idea informed by his education, experience, and close observation. Know the best part? Just like in the old days, when my Granny called it visiting, and my mother called it dropping by, a neighbor stopped in for a chat.
Photo: Blue Moon Images/Dana Goedewaagen