Letter to the editor: Rail bypass is best solution

The cost and time to repair our railroad bridges has distracted us from the real issue: public safety. A vulnerable man-made canyon serves as a conduit of lethal product that transits through the heart of our downtown.
Accidents happen: 1984 Amtrak derailment in Essex, the Lac Megantic disaster 7/16/13, and Middlebury’s near catastrophe in October 2007 when 18 railroad cars carrying volatile fuels derailed.
Do we need to perpetuate the risk of obliterating our downtown? The solution is to perform the engineering required to stabilize the existing bridges at their current height, and simultaneously set about acquiring a railroad corridor — on grade — circumventing the village.
This will be expensive, create inconvenient grade crossings and worse, horrendous dislocation of residences. However the village of Middlebury will forever avoid the genuine possibility of a railroad disaster.
Frank Punderson, Cornwall

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