ANDOVER – Thanks to the generosity of the Roxbury Riders All-Terrain Vehicle Club, Andover’s snowmobile club got a $15,000 boost toward construction of a major snowmobile bridge.

After the 140-foot-long ITS 82 suspension bridge collapsed and tumbled into the Ellis River on Jan. 5, the Roxbury club applied for a $15,000 Yamaha OHV Access Initiative grant to help the Andover Snow-Valley Sno-Goers Snowmobile Club.

Roxbury Riders club President Mike Worthley, on behalf of the club, then transferred the $15,000 to the Sno-Goers club this week.

“We’re just in awe of it,” Wendy Hutchins of Andover and a member of both clubs said by phone on Friday of the gift.

The money will be used to set the footings this fall for the new bridge.

“We’re so tickled that our two clubs can work together for shared recreation. It’s encouraging to have two totally different recreation clubs with two uses to get along like that,” Hutchins said.

Ken Gammon, owner of Ken’s Yamaha in Oxford, helped get the grant by writing a letter of recommendation.

Both clubs routinely help each other by brushing out trails and doing other maintenance. They also share use of the ITS 82 trail and bridge, which is expected to be rebuilt as a truss system starting in the spring of 2009 if a $100,000 state grant is awarded to the Andover club.

Hutchins said the Sno-Goers applied for the Maine Department of Conservation grant, but are required to raise 20 percent of the $100,000 to be eligible for it.

Although work on the new bridge has begun, Hutchins said snowmobilers and ATV riders using ITS 82 through Andover this winter will again have to use caution when crossing the nearby narrow car bridge over the river at the foot of a steep hill on a nearly 90-degree turn.

“It’s a very hazardous intersection,” she added.


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