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Not-for-Profit, Award-Winning Community News and Views for Windham County, Vermont • Since 2006

Tearing down, building up

I-91 bridge project going full speed ahead

BRATTLEBORO—It was a gray and very cold Saturday morning, but it wasn’t cold enough to deter a dozen people who were curious about the Interstate 91 Bridge Project.

Caleb Linn, the project manager for PCL, the lead contractor that’s building the new bridge that will carry traffic over the West River, led a brief trail walk on Dec. 14.

The walk offered area residents a glimpse at how much work has been done so far — and how more there is do — on the $60 million project.

The two current steel-truss bridges will be replaced by a single concrete span. Linn said the northbound bridge is being disassembled; when it is, the new bridge will begin taking shape.

The existing southbound bridge is now carrying two-way traffic. It won’t be taken down until after the new bridge is complete in 2015.

The West River Trail, which runs underneath the bridge, is closed to hikers from the Marina Trailhead to Rice Farm Road while construction takes place.

Demolition of the northbound span is the main activity now at the site, but work has begun on the Route 30 side on the first pier for the new bridge.

Linn said the demolition work will necessitate closing down Route 30 on Dec. 18 and 19. Traffic will be detoured over Upper Dummerston Road on those two days. Route 30 is expected to reopen to traffic on the morning of Dec. 20.

Linn said crews have been working day and night taking apart the northbound bridge. The railings and concrete decking are being removed first, then the steel supports will be disassembled and lifted out, piece-by-piece, by two huge cranes.

Work will continue through the winter as the weather permits, he said.

PCL and FIGG, the designer of the bridge, plan to hold regular “trail talks” about the project as construction progresses. For updates on construction, traffic closures, and the next scheduled talk, visit www.i91brattleborobridge.com.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #234 (Wednesday, December 25, 2013). This story appeared on page A2.

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