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USACE announces opening of new Blain Road pedestrian bridge at West Thompson Lake April 22

USACE, New England District
Published April 15, 2022

 The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District announced this week the official opening of the new Blain Road pedestrian bridge at West Thompson Lake in North Grosvenordale, Connecticut, will take place during a ribbon-cutting ceremony April 22, 2022.

The ceremony is being hosted by USACE, The Last Green Valley organization and the town of Thompson and its Trails Committee, and will take place at 3 p.m. on the pedestrian bridge over the Quinebaug River.

The new 85-foot steel-truss bridge at the Blain Road crossing of the river replaces the former dilapidated 54-foot steel-truss bridge. The popular old bridge was removed in 2012 due to safety concerns after repetitive damage to its steel supports and rock abutments from years of flooding proved too costly for further repairs. The loss of the footbridge removed an important link in the West Thompson Lake trail system as hikers could no longer make the shorter hike across the river between West Thompson and North Grosvenordale. The loss of the bridge meant hikers could no longer traverse the 3.5-mile loop trail across the Quinebaug River and had to use much longer loop trails around the lake.

To assist the USACE in planning for a replacement bridge, town officials engaged a team of senior engineering students from the class of 2015 to develop a concept plan, which was shared with USACE upon completion. Federal funding was finally obtained in 2019, which kick-started the construction phase of the new bridge, and construction was completed in March. The new pedestrian bridge will improve access to over 14 miles of trails on both sides of West Thompson Lake and other connecting trails in Thompson.    
Prior to the ribbon-cutting ceremony, visitors can participate in USACE Ranger-led hiking or kayak events that will cover 1.1 miles one way via trail or river to the new bridge for the start of the ceremony. Visitors interesting in participating in the hike or kayak trip to the ceremony are required to meet at the boat ramp on Reardon Road at 1:30 pm. Participation in the kayak event requires advanced registration. Visit www.thelastgreenvalley.org or call (860) 774-3300 to register. 

For more information, contact the West Thompson Lake park office at (860) 923-2982 or visit https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Missions/Recreation/West-Thompson-Lake/.  

All U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, New England District news releases are available online at https://www.nae.usace.army.mil/Media/News-Releases/

Bryan Purtell

Release no. 22-014