Over 120 roads in the region have been reopened after the devastating flooding that occurred two weeks ago. However, there is still a lot of work to be done as many repairs are needed, which will cost the state tens of millions of dollars.
The flooding has taken a toll on the aging infrastructure in the area, prompting authorities to take immediate action. Engineers from VTrans are working tirelessly to address the damage. For instance, a bridge on Route 110 in Chelsea suffered foundation damage due to the high water levels, causing it to slowly crumble. Crews are now busy constructing a replacement bridge to restore access to the road.
The challenges are enormous because most of the bridges in the region were built nearly a century ago, and they are all reaching the end of their lifespans around the same time, according to Joshua Paquette, an engineer with VTrans.
In Vershire, Route 113 had to be closed as an entire bridge was wiped out. Work is progressing there as well, but in this case, there’s no existing structure to work with anymore.
Residents in the affected areas are experiencing inconveniences due to detours and road closures. Ken Rice, who lives near the Vershire bridge, now has to travel longer distances to reach his destination. However, he understands the situation and appreciates the efforts being made to fix the damage.
Governor Phil Scott urged patience from the public as the state begins its rebuilding efforts. While there might be some frustration with the road closures, he emphasized that many people are dealing with the devastating impacts of the floods, such as being displaced from their homes or businesses.
The cost of the damage to roads and bridges has already reached $35 million, but the figure is expected to rise significantly. As of now, seven roads are still impassable, and an additional 296 roads will require further work, which will be conducted over the coming weeks, months, and possibly years.
The construction of a temporary bridge on Route 110 is expected to be completed in a couple of weeks, but a permanent replacement might take up to three years to be finalized. The state is doing its best to address the situation, but the scale of the damage and the necessary repairs pose significant challenges.