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Hale Road Bridge #64 in Guilford now sports a steel plate to cover a spot where the corrugated metal beneath the bridge had worn down.

Town and Village

Town faces road problems

Guilford Center Road, Hale Road Bridge need fixes

GUILFORD—Guilford Road Commissioner Dan Zumbruski recently alerted the Selectboard to a few breakdowns in the town’s roads.

At the Board’s regular Sept. 28 meeting, Zumbruski reported on the damage to the Hale Road Bridge #64 — the second bridge in from Hinesburg Road.

Zumbruski and his crew recently placed a steel plate on the bridge to cover a spot where the corrugated metal beneath the bridge had worn down.

Although the fix renders the bridge safe, and Zumbruski said he didn’t know if it “can stay there all winter,” it is only a temporary fix.

“We just have to be careful we don’t hit it with a snowplow,” he noted.

One way to extend the life of the temporary fix is to decrease the load limit for trucks crossing the bridge, Zumbruski said.

But, “that would be putting me in a pickle,” he added, because then he could not get his department’s equipment across the bridge.

Zumbruski suggested “we can do a 10-ton weight limit,” to keep log trucks off, at the very least.

He said the repairs would be fairly straightforward. “The abutments are good. It just needs a new deck."

Zumbruski told the board a good fix would be to put a new beam underneath the bridge, where one of the wheel tracks lies.

“We could weld something to the flanges,” Zumbruski said, noting “to do it right,” repairs would cost between $6,000 and $7,000, but he wanted to check in with a local contractor and their bridge engineer before making assurances.

Although the bridge is “on the list,” Zumbruski said he doesn’t know when the Vermont Agency of Transportation will replace it.

“If we get the state involved, it could be five to six years,” he said.

Meanwhile, on Guilford Center Road, part of the road is pitching at a slight angle

The foundation beneath the pavement “is nothing but clay,” Zumbruski said, and “over the years, it’s been settling and settling.”

He said on the bank side of the road, near Broad Brook, the settling pulled the culvert apart and, during recent heavy rains, much of the bank washed away — a decrease of about three feet.

The culvert has since been repaired, but the road will need a rebuild. Board Chair Anne Rider told The Commons that the town plans to fix it next spring, and stressed, “the road is not falling into the brook.”

Board member Troy Revis said the road’s pitch is not very noticeable from inside a car, but one feels the angle from a motorcycle.

“The whole side of that road on the brook side is going to have to be riprapped,” Zumbruski said. By placing large stones on the incline, “you’re essentially building the road from the bank back up,” Revis explained.

While Zumbruski secures some estimates for the project, he and his crew will create ditching in the area to divert the water from traveling under Guilford Center Road.

Zumbruski cautioned against relying on the state for help with these issues.

“We’re going to have to bite the bullet” on some of the town’s necessary road projects, he said, and try to budget for the repairs.

“Over the years,” Zumbruski said, there has been pressure on the town to cut the roads budget.

“Now, guess what?” he asked. “It’s going to start biting us in the hind end.”

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Originally published in The Commons issue #326 (Wednesday, October 7, 2015). This story appeared on page B3.

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