Tradition to live on after bridge ravaged by Irene is rebuilt
By Christian Avard
Staff Writer | July 03,2013
Since 1956, Windsor Junior Senior High School teams, fans and alumni would bounce on the bridge connecting the high school to MacLeay-Royce Athletic Field in preparation for big games, victories and to test the bridge’s flexibility. The bridge was wiped out by Tropical Storm Irene and construction crews have replaced the bridge with a pre-fab version that is longer and higher off the ground from Mill Brook. Windsor Town Manager Tom Marsh said the bridge will be ready to use in the coming weeks.
WINDSOR — Yellow Jacket Nation rejoice! The famous iron footbridge that connects Windsor Junior/Senior High School to the MacLeay-Royce Athletic Field is returning.
Ask any Windsor Junior/Senior High School student, parent or alumnus about why a 65-foot-long bridge has so much nostalgic value and they will reminisce about Yellow Jacket football games, team spirit and, most of all, bouncing on the bridge.
There’s an old Yellow Jacket tradition that dates back to 1956 when the bridge was first installed. Year after year, Yellow Jacket football teams would jump up and down before games, test the bridge’s flexibility and ‘psych’ each other up for the game. If Windsor won, then the teams and their fans would go back on the bridge and jump on it some more in victory.
On Aug. 28, 2011, Tropical Storm Irene flooded Mill Brook and ripped the bridge from the abutments. The bridge came to a rest in the middle of Mill Brook and there were no plans to rebuild it, according to Town Manager Tom Marsh. That was until Windsor residents stepped in.
They lobbied to the town manager and requested the town replace it with a new one. Marsh and the Select Board investigated the possibilities.
The town purchased a pre-fabricated steel bridge from Contech Engineering Solutions of West Chester, Ohio and construction crews got right to work. According to Roger Gilman of Miller Construction, the new bridge is 80 feet long and approximately 10 feet over Mill Brook.
The bridge cost $62,000, and $18,000 to install, for a grand total of $80,000, Marsh said. Federal Emergency Management Agency funding paid for the project.
Miller Construction, Blanchard Contracting and Peachtree Builders each played a role in the bridge raising, Marsh said. The new approaches are being set and landscaping work will be completed in the coming weeks.
As for the community, alumni, students, parents and Yellow Jackets sports teams, the bouncing tradition will soon continue.
“All the memories and bouncing on the bridge were part of your high school experience. There is a sentimental value to it all,” Marsh said.