Floods close some local roads
ADDISON COUNTY — Officials at the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) on Monday afternoon were continuing to work toward full recovery of the roadways around Addison County and Vermont that were flooded on Sunday as the remnants of Hurricane Irene swept through Vermont.
In Addison County the flooding appears to have been less severe than in other parts of the Vermont. According to Chris Cole, VTrans Director of Policy, Planning and Intermodal Development, the southern counties Bennington and Windham were hit especially hard.
“Anything that’s in the Champlain Valley looks fairly decent,” said Cole. “But those that are bordering the Green Mountains … have really felt the impact.”
Accordingly, several highways on the eastern half of Addison County remained closed as of Monday morning. Route 116 between Route 125 in East Middlebury and Route 17 in Bristol, which runs along the border of Green Mountain National Forest, was listed by state officials as closed, though Addison Independent staff drove much of it.
Additionally, portions of Route 125 between Route 116 and Route 100, were closed, as well as Route 17 between Route 116 and Huntington Road. Speifically, Route 17 around Memorial Park was closed in Bristol from Route 116 to Dan Sargeant Road, which is the first left heading up the hill.
In addition, the following roads were still closed on Monday morning:
• Lincoln Road, which turns into Lincoln’s River Road, was closed between Bartlett Falls and Circle Current because the road was washed out.
“It’s totally gone,” said Bristol town administrator Bill Bryant. “About 150-250 feet were completely washed out.”
• New Haven’s Nash Bridge was still blockaded on Monday with “Road Closed” signs after town officials said high waters poured over the bridge on Sunday. Although the waters had receded, the bridge was still closed to traffic.
• Bristol’s Carlstrom Road near Route 116 was under repair, but expected to open later in the day, and the stretch of 116 just south of the Stoplight Bridge was reduced to one lane.
• Bristol’s Lower Notch Road and Upper Notch Road were blocked by downed power lines.
• The bridge on Hall Road in Lincoln that connects to Robinson Road was under construction after part of it was washed away. The bridge was partially restored and deemed “passable” by local officials on Monday afternoon.
• South Lincoln Road was washed out near the town garage.
“One lane is completely gone,” said Selectboard Chair Barb Rainville on Monday. “We’re hoping to get it filled in enough to open it up to one-lane traffic by the end of the day. That was our largest damage area and about 50 feet or so were washed out to the center line.”
• Lincoln’s French Settlement Road was washed away.
• Starksboro’s Jerusalem Road was also washed out.
“We had water over the bridges and water coming down the middle of the road,” said Starksboro Town Clerk Cheryl Estey. “It washed away part of the road.”
According to Monkton Town Clerk Sharon Gomez, the town escaped unscathed.
VTrans officials were still in the process of determining the cost of the damage from Sunday’s storm. As damage assessments continue to come in from around the state, VTrans was focusing on inspecting and repairing the state’s bridges. Thus far, they have closed 35 state highway bridges.
A key bridge in the area that was closed is the Route 7 span over the Neshobe River in downtown Brandon. Officials hoped to get it inspected on Tuesday.
Cole said that VTrans will be focused on damage control where necessary.
“We are going to be assessing the damage (and) prioritizing,” he said. “We’re going to be putting in temporary bridges where bridges need to be taken out or where they have been taken out already.”
They will be applying for recovery funding from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), as well as the Federal Highway Administration to help repair Vermont’s state highways. The amount of aid depends on the extent of the damage, which Cole could not even begin to estimate at this point.
“This is such an unprecedented disaster for Vermont in modern history,” said Cole. “This is a statewide disaster of significant historical proportions.”
For up to date information about state road and bridge closures, visit www.511vt.com.