Rebuilding The Woodville Bridge

Photos by HHA Member Rick Prescott

Text by HHA Member Tom Helmer

After the “500 Year Flood” of 2010, many off us in Hopkinton and the region had to deal with water in their basements. I was fortunate, in that the water rushed into my basement from the front yard, but the house is graded so the back yard is a few inches below the cellar slab. I jacked up the sill plate on the big back door, and the water flowed out into the back yard. For about four days, I went downstairs to see how the river was flowing, and to clear away the flotsam* clogging the sill plate drainage gap,

(* Or is it “the jetsam”? Take the HHA Quiz below – you decide which one it is, Flotsam or Jetsam, then go to end of the photos to find out if you are a winner!)

After the flow stopped, then I dealt with the deep lagoons, but I was extremely fortunate compared with my neighbors.

But the Big Picture said we all were fortunate, as no one was killed in Hopkinton.

The Woodville Bridge was closed for many months, then came the rebuilding of the road, the demolition of the ruined bridge deck, and the reconstruction of the Woodville Bridge, which salvaged the old piers.

Traffic returned to normal, and for a month, everyone appreciated how useful bridges over rivers are, they they became “Modern World” invisible again.

Amazingly, the transformation started in Rick Prescott’s front yard! This cut down his photo taking travel time immensely, plus, you get to see the last of his 2010 Cosmos flowers in his front garden. That massive machine scoops up the old asphalt from off the road bed, leaving only dirt and memories behind.

Once the reconstruction job got underway, it was fascinating to see the thoroughness of the process.

We joke about highway workers leaning on their shovels, but the Cardi Corporation got it done!

Thank You, from one of many who often use this bridge.


HHA Vocabulary Pop Quiz

Is it FLOTSAM, or is it JETSAM?    Grade yourself on the honor system after you read BOTH definitions.

(Hey, this is educational, and this IS an educational site, so the Webmaster says “lighten up” already!) 

FLOTSAM N, 1: floating wreckage of a ship or it’s cargo;  broadly : floating debris    2a: vagrant impoverished people    2b: unimportant miscellaneous material

 JETSAM N, 1: the part of a ship, its equipment, or cargo that is cast overboard to lighten the load in time of distress and that sinks or is washed ashore    2: see FLOTSAM definition #2b  

Hozabout THAT!  Both definitions are equally correct when applied to the clog glop in my basement!

SO… by the power vested in me by the Hopkinton Historical Association’s Publication Committee, 

I hereby declare that EVERYONE who took the FLOTSAM/JETSAM quiz is a WINNER!