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Friday, June 09, 2017

Tom Dente sent this picture of last night's sunset.  Tom mentioned sunsets are often unusual this time of the year, and pointed out the ripples in the clouds "forecasting rain tomorrow."  

Tom's observation reminded me of a conversation I had with someone recently about how weather forecasts have changed and improved over the years with new technology.  

When I was growing up on the farm on Cabot Plain, we pretty much depended on my grandfather's assessment of what we could expect for weather.  He kept a close eye on the sky- a necessary part of planning the day's work ahead.  I probably picked up a little of that  as a child.  I was always thrilled when I smelled snow in the air; and then in the spring, I looked forward to the earthy, soft fragrance of warming sod as the snow melted and patches of bare ground appeared.  I remember the thrill of excitement I felt while bracing against driving snow as I crossed the open field between our house and the school. I still like wind, but there's an element of fear and respect along with it now that I lacked 75 years ago. 

I loved to lie in a grassy field, tall grass waving in the June breeze, and watch clouds overhead - shapes of people or animals constantly moving and changing.  There were the sounds of bumble bees and bob-o-links.  There might be the distant bawl of a disgruntled cow temporarily separated from the herd - all commonplace and comforting. The exception was the drone of an airplane, which invariably brought me to my feet.  There weren't many flying over our farm, and when we heard one, everyone looked up, hoping to be the first to spot it.  

During WWII, we learned to identify planes by their shape, and my cousins and I invented wild scenarios that included war games where we were hiding in underbrush as the "enemy" airplane passed, or we might be racing to an imagined landing spot to shoot the enemy or be rescued by "our guys" - depending on what movie we were reinacting that particular day.  Pictured with me here, my cousins Harold and Herb from Hartford, Connecticut.  They spent entire  summers on the farm during the 1940s, and other cousins came to visit periodically.  Harold and I were almost the same age, Herb was a year or two older.

Those were long, wonderful, carefree summer days when we were expected to show up for meals on time and go to get the cows in the afternoon. Otherwise, we were obliged to stay out of trouble and out of the way of farm operations unless we were called upon.  We were usually  "within earshot" even when we were in the fields or pastures, but sometimes not.  I was expected to keep my city cousins safe from the hazards of the farm and the wilderness; and we all had a healthy respect for boundaries set by adults.  I suspect those adults were more aware of where we were and what we were doing than we knew at the time, but we had a freedom and innocence that's perhaps not possible these days. And that is sad.

Construction Update
St. Johnsbury VT 2B – Bridge Project
BF 7000(20)
Project Location:  Bridge 6 is located on VT 2B in St. Johnsbury over the Lamoille Valley Rail Trail.  The bridge is less than one half mile west of Route 2B’s eastern intersection with US Route 2.

Bridge and Rail Trail Closure -
The 50-day bridge closure and Lamoille Valley Rail Trail closure is currently underway.  Both the bridge and rail trail are closed to all traffic at the bridge location.  Separate offsite detours are in effect and marked with signs. Detour information can be found in the update below.
Trail Opening Update – The re-opening of the closed segment of the LVRT under route 2B is delayed due to unusually wet weather and continued overhead work. The safety of the trail users and construction workers is of most importance. The contractor is expecting to complete both the roadway and trail work a few days before the end of June. Trail users are reminded not to enter the construction site or trespass on neighboring properties.  Another trail opening update will be provided the week of June 19th.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.

Progress Update – June 8, 2017
The week of June 5th, installation of the MSE bridge wall panels and associated backfilling was completed. Crews started forming and placing the concrete collar on the outside rim of the arch and also started placing concrete for the bridge guardrails. VT 2B subbase work is currently underway and will continue throughout the end of the week.
Crews are planning to work Saturday, June 10th, 2017.

Work Plan for Week of June 12, 2017
The project will have multiple construction operations underway this week. 
Construction will continue on the concrete collar on the outside rim of the new corrugated arch, as will the placement of the precast concrete coping on top of the bridge retaining wall. 
Route 2B will have more subbase work on the approaches to the bridge, while the rail trail slope work is occurring below. 
Construction of a new retaining wall on a neighboring driveway will also get underway this week. 
Construction is expected to occur 6-days a week throughout the remaining closure period.  Allowable work hours are from 6:00 am to 9:00 pm, as permitted by the St. Johnsbury Noise Ordinance.
Detour Routes- The following detours will be in effect during the bridge and trail closure period.
                - VT 2B traffic will be directed to use US 2.  Bicyclists are not permitted to ride on the US2            detour.  US 2 is a limited access highway.
                - Trail users will be directed to use Crow Hill Road, Swett Road, Tilton Road and Parker Road, as designated by the Town of St. Johnsbury.
Detour maps can be found on the project website: http://stj2bbridge.vtransprojects.vermont.gov/index.html
It is illegal in VT to use any handheld portable electronic devices while driving. The law carries fines of up to $200 with points assessed if the violation occurs in a work zone. Contact Francine Perkins, Project Outreach Coordinator, FRP Enterprises, LLC with any questions or concerns with regards to the project at 802-479-6994.  Construction updates and project photos are posted at http://stj2bbridge.vtransprojects.vermont.gov/index.html

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