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Thursday, April 02, 2015

People around Joe's Pond may be concerned about the proposed temporary closure of Route 15 this summer while the bridge in Walden is being replaced.  There is a meeting on April 6th at 7 p.m. in Cabot at the Willy Building with representatives from VTrans  there to answer questions. The public is invited to attend.

Diane Rossi, who lives on West Shore Road, questioned Kitty Toll, our representative in Montpelier about the closure.  Although the intended detour will route traffic to Marshfield and then onto Route 215 back to Route 15, it is more than likely a lot of locals and also people using GPS will take the much shorter route along West Shore Road and Brickett's Crossing to reach Route 215 and the 15.  Here is the response from Kitty Toll yesterday:

Hello Diane,

Yesterday VTrans came to the State House and spoke with the local Legislators representing Walden, Cabot and Danville. This information will be covered at Monday night's meeting in Cabot at 7:00 at the Willy Building. I asked about postponing the project until the fall when many campers will have closed up for the season. The response was projects like this, with a detour, are planned for the summer months so not to create a time burden for busing school children. They are in hopes of starting the project after July 4th, due to the large number of travelers heading to the Cabot celebration. It is now scheduled for the end of June.

Trucks using back roads was another concern. They will provide grant funding to hire enforcement to keep large trucks on the designated detour route and off the smaller dirt roads. We were also informed all roads identified for the detour must be left in at least the condition they were in prior to the construction. Hopefully better!

A one-lane bridge was brought up as well. There are many hazards with traffic and construction occurring at the same time. Additionally, the bridge is too small to accommodate both construction and traffic. A temporary bridge would need additional permitting and there is a wetland on one side and an archeological site on the other side not allowing this as a viable alternative.

The company that has been hired, replaced a similar bridge in Newark last year in 19 days. It will be a long 3 weeks. The project could be delayed, but the bridge is in tough shape and the repairs are desperately needed. This type of construction is not done in the winter months.
The meeting Monday night will give all the opportunity to ask questions and express concerns. We are between a rock and a hard place - the bridge is crumbling and needs repair - the repairs will create hardship and possible hazards.

See you on the 6th.
We will try to keep you posted on the outcome of that meeting.  
Probably the best we can hope for is being inconvenienced for only a  short duration, but during that period we will need to take every precaution to keep safe as we share the road with increased traffic.  This will mean walking facing traffic (keep to the far left); biking with traffic (keep to the right); keep dogs on a short leash and out of the road; warn children to stay away from the road; and observe the laws as you would on any other public road. Even though pedestrians have the right of way, don't take unnecessary advantage of that law - be courteous and understand that the people in vehicles have just as much right as you do to that bit of real estate; it is a public road.  We want to avoid accidents, so we need to keep the roadway clear and respect the rights of others to use it.

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