Williams Street to close during I-91 bridge repairs

BRATTLEBORO — Contractors will close the portion of Williams Street that crosses beneath Interstate 91 until May 1 to make room for repairs to the Interstate bridge overhead.

Traffic had been reduced to one lane, with temporary traffic lights that will alternate the flow of traffic, but the new permit allows contractors to close the road completely.

Beck & Bellucci, Inc. of Franklin, N.H., the contractors in charge of the bridge repair project, sought and received permission from the Selectboard last week to close the road each Monday through Saturday, from 6:30 a.m. until 7 p.m.

The firm has contracted with the state to replace the Interstate 91 northbound bridges that cross over Williams and Maple streets, said Public Works Director Steve Barrett.

In an e-mail to Barrett, Dale Sackett, vice president at Beck & Bellucci, said that the contractors needed to close the street to build a trestle before demolishing the old I-91 bridges.

He also told Barrett that the company has been trying to get the bridge replacement project off the ground.

“To make matters worse, the environmental authorities have now indicated that they do not want us to work in the river during high flow conditions. If we are not able to get the trestle constructed prior to spring, we will have to wait until summer, which will make it impossible to complete the northbound bridges this season,” Sackett wrote.

The Whetstone Brook runs next to Williams Street.

Town Manager Barbara Sondag said that the contractors would need to supply the Department of Public Works with a detailed signage plan, notify the press of road closing times and dates, and let Emergency Dispatch know when the road was closed or reopened.

Police Chief Eugene Wrinn and Fire Chief Michael Bucossi said that the contractors had to leave enough space on the road for emergency vehicles to pass.

Williams Street runs from Western Avenue, near the Vermont Country Deli, to the intersection of Elliot, Union, and Frost streets.

According to the Agency of Transportation, the project will cost almost $12.5 million, with 90 percent of the funds from federal sources and the remainder from the state highway budget.

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