Letters to the Editor: Middlebury tunnel a possible deathtrap for homeless

With the two temporary bridges in place over the railroad tracks now, I question even more the Town’s decision to opt for the “tunnel” permanent replacement solution. Does the gain of several hundred square feet of new lawn between the fountain park and St. Stephens Church really compensate for the extra time and expense that the tunnel requires, plus the following: I don’t recall any comments on the potential impact of the tunnel on the local population of drug users and the homeless, who may find the seclusion attractive versus the open nature of individual bridges.
My prediction is that the long tunnel will quickly need a video monitoring system (or is one already in the plans?) and that the trains will have to be stopped occasionally to remove a body from the tracks, especially possible in the winter due to the lure of shelter. Seems like “just bridges” is still the better idea, even at this late date.
The project, in general, is an important one for the region for more than one reason. Vergennes, for instance, should be trying to solve its long haul truck traffic problem by working to get all that cargo back into rail cars, like it was many years ago. Trucking should only be for local distribution.
Hopefully I’m wrong about the tunnel.
Craig Allen, Bristol

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