Route 74 bridge closed for deck repairs
SHOREHAM — The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) officials are targeting President’s Day for the reopening of so-called Bridge No. 2, which spans the Lemon Fair River on Route 74 near the Cornwall-Shoreham town line.
On Monday morning VTrans officials closed one lane of Bridge No. 2 after discovering a large hole in the concrete deck of the steel-beam span, erected back in 1939. Officials closed the 182-foot-long bridge to all traffic later in the day.
Scott Rogers, director of the VTrans operations division, said work crews this week were beginning repairs to Bridge No. 2 in anticipation of having it reopened to through-traffic by Monday, Feb. 21.
The repairs, he said, will consist of patching holes in the concrete deck and reinforcing areas that are at immediate risk of deterioration. Rogers said steel plates and epoxy will be used as part of the repairs.
Meanwhile, Route 74 will continue to be closed to through traffic from its intersection with Quiet Valley Road in Shoreham to its intersection with North and South Bingham Street in Cornwall. Only local traffic will be permitted.
Traffic headed north on Routes 22A and 30 will be directed to use Route 125, while traffic headed south on Routes 22A and 30 will be directed to use Route 73.
VTrans Deputy Secretary Sue Minter confirmed that Bridge No. 2 is not on the agency’s current list of state structures due for replacement or major renovations, but she said such a conversation — particularly with respect to the concrete deck — is likely to occur in the near future in light of the recent deterioration. That deterioration, Minter said, has been caused by a freeze-thaw pattern that has widened deck cracks into full-fledged holes.
Minter and her colleagues are hoping this week’s deck repairs will last for a few years, during which time VTrans can develop a more substantial repair plan for Bridge No. 2.
“This is an example of problems we face statewide and throughout the nation,” Minter said. “We have had deferred maintenance on our infrastructure.”
Vermont’s transportation network includes around 4,000 bridges, 322 of which have been deemed structurally deficient, according to Minter.
“We have tasked a team of structural engineers to come up with a plan on how we can expedite our bridge program because of this huge backlog,” Minter said.
Cornwall Town Clerk Sue Johnson said the interruption of traffic on Route 74 will cause delays for some travelers.
“It is certainly going to be an inconvenience for anyone headed to Shoreham and parts west from Cornwall,” Johnson said, adding “Route 74 is a pretty major crossroads for truckers to get from here to 22A.”
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected].