Two big county paving should restart soon

BRISTOL/VERGENNES — Major paving projects on the main arteries in both Bristol and Vergennes have been delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Both could restart soon, according to a spokesperson for the projects.
The news comes as the Middlebury rail bridges project got the OK to restart construction. It is the first project to get that approval from the Vermont Agency of Transportation since work was halted because of the coronavirus.
The Bristol project includes 1.23 miles of Route 116, starting at its intersection with Airport Road and running east through the heart of downtown to near the Lord’s Prayer Rock. It also includes a town-funded Main Street lighting and sidewalk project.
In Vergennes the project includes the length of Route 22A within city limits, plus work on side streets and traffic-calming measures.
Richmond contractor J. Hutchins Inc. will serve as the general contractor for both projects, which are scheduled to run simultaneously and share equipment.
Earlier this week Natalie Boyle, spokesperson for the projects, said timetables remain uncertain, but an announcement on Bristol could come late this week. Work on light pole foundations and sidewalks could start as soon as next week, she said, and it remains to be determined if that work will be done during the day or at night.
In Vergennes, officials and downtown business owners have been hoping that disruptive milling of the existing pavement surface could be have done while their operations remain largely shuttered.
Boyle said Hutchins is now waiting for clearance from state officials to allow a New Hampshire milling subcontractor to come to Vermont and do that work. She called the situation “very fluid,” while hoping for a speedy resolution.
In both communities, she said, work is being done to allow contractors to fire up quickly when they get green lights.
“Inspection staff and contractor staff have been on site completing survey work and marking out the project so that when active construction operations can begin, project layout will have been completed (or nearly complete),” Boyle wrote in an email.

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