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Paving set for Western Avenue

AOT approves up to $150,000 for state highway plagued by potholes

BRATTLEBORO—Western Avenue will receive tender loving care thanks to a grant from the Vermont Agency of Transportation.

The Selectboard approved a construction bid from Lane Construction Co. of Northfield, Mass., on July 22.

The $132,904 project includes paving Western Avenue with about three-quarters of an inch of new asphalt in the travel lanes. The state has agreed to reimburse the town for work on this road up to $150,000, Hannah O’Connell, highway and utilities superintendent for the Department of Public Works, told the board.

The project falls on the late side of Vermont’s limited construction season and so the town received only one bid, she said. Work is tentatively scheduled for the third week of August.

The winter of 2013-14 and a wildly variable spring left the heavily traveled Western Avenue pockmarked with potholes large enough to puncture tires, devour car suspensions, and inspire a litany of letters to local newspapers.

DPW engineer Gary King said late last week that the area being worked on begins near Brattle Street and proceeds west to Edward Heights. Only the traveled portion of Western Avenue between the white fog lines is being resurfaced, he said.

“In a few areas milling will go all the way to the edge of pavement such as at the bridge near Melrose Street and a section near Brookside Drive where the edge is very rough,” King said. “Our reasoning for this method is to keep within the state funding and avoid work on and around many drainage structures. It also raises the road cross slope, which should help keep standing water off the road.”

King said that this fix needs to last up to three years, when the state should have funding to fully resurface the road.

The project’s schedule is still under discussion, but DPW anticipates it will wrap sometime in September.

All work is planned for night time, King said. It will start after 6 to avoid the very long backups that would occur during the day.

Lane Construction estimates the milling will take one night, resurfacing two, King said. He added that the DPW will stripe lines after Lane has completed its work.

Regularly scheduled summer paving, also on Lane Construction’s agenda, is scheduled for about the same time. That work includes milling and resurfacing on Chapin and Grove streets and Fairground Road.

Also included: leveling, or shim course paving, on Birge Street, a section of Guilford Street near Maple, and a section of Cotton Mill Hill.

Brattleboro Public Works will update residents as the start date for the Western Avenue project draws near.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #265 (Wednesday, July 30, 2014). This story appeared on page A1.

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