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County pillar work progressing

The Old Essex County Courthouse pillars are now being shored up by braces as engineers look to design replacement pillars that are historically accurate.

The Old Essex County Courthouse pillars are now being shored up by braces as engineers look to design replacement pillars that are historically accurate. Photo by Keith Lobdell.

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A test hole was drilled into the pillars at the Essex County Old Courthouse, revealing rot inside.

— There are new structures helping to keep the roof on the Old Essex County Courthouse up.

A pair of new supports have been placed on the courthouse, along with several others near pillars along the county buildings as county officials look to replace the failing pillars with new, historically accurate ones.

“All of the areas that have the supports were places where the pillars needed immediate securing,” County Department of Public Works Superintendent Anthony LaVigne said. “They are old and they all need some work. The ones that are shored up need to be done as an emergency replacement. The others will be done as we can budget for that work.”

LaVigne said that they are currently in the design and engineering process for the project, which is how they discovered more pillars other than the ones located at the Old Courthouse that needed repair.

“They looked at all of the pillars as part of the scope of the work,” LaVigne said. “They shored up the pillars and drilled access holes so they could see what was inside. This allowed them to inspect and measure the pillars and come up with a design.”

LaVigne said that the design process will take longer because the buildings have been designated as historical landmarks.

“The designs will have to be checked for historical accuracy,” he said. “It makes the process slower any time that you add a layer of bureaucracy into it.”

LaVigne said that he hoped the work could be done through the winter months.

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