State offers aid for area bridges, roads
MONTPELIER — Addison County is in line for a combined total of almost $100 million in state and federal funds over the next few years to pave area roads and repair or replace local bridges, according to priorities set forth in Vermont’s fiscal year 2011 Transportation Bill.
The so-called “T-Bill” was in conference committee for final negotiations as the Addison Independent went to press. But Rep. Diane Lanpher, D-Vergennes, said Monday that none of the projects reflected in the almost $600 million transportation spending plan were at risk.
“There are no rubs on any of the money,” said Lanpher, a member of the House Transportation Committee.
“I am feeling very good that Addison County has received a substantial share of transportation funds,” she added.
All told, Addison County boasts five major projects on the state paving list and another six on the state bridge program list, dominated by the upcoming replacement of the Champlain Bridge. Vermont’s share for that replacement span — expected to be functioning by the summer of 2011 — is estimated at $55,250,000, according to fiscal year 2011 T-bill details provided by Lanpher.
Indeed, the Champlain Bridge will eat up approximately $28 million of the $60 million in new funds for state bridges for fiscal year 2011, according to Lanpher. (The rest of the estimated $27.25 million would be doled out in future years).
“I’m happy it’s there,” she said of the money, though she and other Vermont officials remain concerned about the status of New York state’s equal share of funding for the new bridge. Empire State lawmakers are currently trying to sort out a major budget crisis.
Still, Lanpher is confident the Champlain Bridge project will go on as scheduled, as there is a big financial incentive to get it built as soon as possible. The temporary ferry service near the bridge site costs around $30,000 a day, according to Lanpher.
The New York State Department of Transportation is scheduled to hold an informational meeting at the Addison Central School at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 11, to update the project.
The fiscal year 2011 T-Bill features yet another longtime, big-ticket bridge item — the so-called “stoplight bridge” on Route 116 in Bristol. The bill identifies replacement of the bridge and two nearby culverts at a total cost (spread out through fiscal year 2015) of almost $12 million. That price, according to Vermont Agency of Transportation Manager Martha Evans-Mongeon, includes property acquisition and engineering, as well as construction.
“We are hoping to begin construction in 2013,” Evans-Mongeon said, noting the project will take two building seasons.
Officials said the new bridge will feature two lanes. The current span is signalized and features one lane.
“We are happy to have it stay on the list and we are happy to have any progress in moving it forward,” Bristol town administrator Bill Bryant said of the stoplight bridge, which has for years lingered on the state’s replacement schedule.
Lanpher said she’s pleased to see some local bridges get some attention, but she noted there are many more throughout the state that are in dire need of repairs or replacement. She said there are currently 433 bridges in Vermont rated “structurally deficient” — a rating as low as that of the Champlain Bridge before it was closed to traffic last fall. Some of those bridges feature detours of 20-60 miles, Lanpher noted.
The following is the complete list of Addison County state road/bridge projects reflected in the fiscal year 2011 T-Bill. It should again be noted that the costs listed below are in some cases to be spread over multiple fiscal years, and the exact starting times for the projects have yet to be confirmed.
State Paving Projects:
• Resurfacing of Route 17 in Addison, Weybridge, Waltham and New Haven, beginning at the intersection of Route 22A and extending east 7.358 miles to the intersection of Route 7. Total estimated cost: $5,475,000, beginning in 2011 budget, which starts July 1, 2010, and goes until 2013.
• Resurfacing a portion of the River Road in Lincoln. Estimated cost: $345,000, using federal stimulus money.
• Resurfacing Route 125 in Middlebury, beginning at its intersection with Route 7 and extending east 3.094 miles to the Middlebury-Ripton town line. Estimated cost: $1,948,513.
• Resurfacing Route 125 in Ripton and Hancock, beginning at the Middlebury-Ripton town line and extending east 6.536 miles. Estimated cost: $5,420,000.
• Resurfacing Route 30 in Whiting, Cornwall and Middlebury, beginning at the Sudbury-Whiting town line and extending north 11.853 miles. Estimated cost: $5,552,500.
• Replacement of culvert (Bridge 2) on Route 17 in Addison, at an estimated cost of $697,000.
• Replacement of the Champlain Bridge, with Vermont’s share at estimated at $55,250,000. New York is to contribute an equal amount.
• Repairing three culverts along Route 125 in Bridport, also known as Bridges 2, 5 and 6. Total estimated price: $416,300.
• Replacement of the “stoplight bridge” and two nearby, major culverts on Route 116 in Bristol, for a total estimated cost of $11,965,419.
• Replacement of Bridge 9 on Route 125 in Cornwall, over the Lemon Fair River. Total estimated cost: $8,502,230.
• Replacement of Bridge 13 (the Sand Hill Bridge) that spans the Middlebury River in Middlebury. Total estimated cost: $4,282,164.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].