By ANDY KIRKALDY
FERRISBURGH — The off-and-on delays experienced by Route 7 drivers in Ferrisburgh and northern New Haven will last right through the summer and into late September, according to a Vermont Agency of Transportation spokesman.
AOT communications director John Zicconi said it simply takes time to prepare for and complete a 10.5-mile, $3.8 million paving project.
“It’s not a small project,” Zicconi said. “This is something that takes a while.”
When completed, Route 7 will be resurfaced between the Charlotte town line and the intersection of the state highway with Lime Kiln Road, just north of New Haven Junction.
In the meantime, local drivers, commuters and day-trippers to Burlington can expect less than smooth sailing along Route 7, especially during rush hour. Zicconi said about 8,300 cars a day cruise on the southern end of the road to be repaired, and about 13,200 along the northern stretch.
“You would naturally conclude the delays will be longer in the northern end of the project,” he said. “People should expect the longer delays in the peak driving hours.”
Other than rush hours, delays will be unpredictable. There may even be times project contractor F.W. Whitcomb pulls workers and equipment to meet deadlines on other jobs, Zicconi said.
“They’re doing different things at different times,” he said, both on the job and at other sites.
Those familiar with other north-south roads might find the going easier there at times, but Zicconi said the AOT would not be setting up detours “through anybody’s neighborhood.”
“With any of these things, we encourage people to take alternative routes,” he said. “Every car not in there (on Route 7) means the delay is shorter for those who don’t know the back roads. The locals know how to get around. The through traffic doesn’t know better.”
As well as providing a new surface, Whitcomb will make several other improvements during the job. Minor improvements will include replacing signs along the length of the project, upgrading weight sensors on Monkton Road that trigger the Route 7 traffic signals, making some drainage improvements, and improving some stretches of guard rails.
More notable changes at two Ferrisburgh intersections will also be made. One is being worked on already, at the intersection of Route 7 and Stage Road — moving curbing out closer to the highway near the North Ferrisburgh Mobil Short Stop. The AOT agreed to that change at the request of town officials to correct a traffic hazard.
Moving the curb is intended to prevent tractor-trailer trucks from parking on the west side of the highway, thus blocking the view of drivers trying to enter Route 7 from Stage Road.
Zicconi said workers will also change the intersection of Quaker Road and Route 7, at the site of the Dakin Farms store on the west side of the highway. Currently Quaker Road comes in at a sharp angle, allowing drivers to enter the highway without stopping. The intersection will be reworked to create a safer right angle and a stop sign.
“When people have to come to a complete stop and look … T intersections are safer,” he said. “That’s a safety improvement.”