The Lareau bridge on Route 100 as seen from the Mad River.

The Waitsfield Select Board asked VTrans representatives to change the schedule for replacing state bridge 177 over the Mad River on Route 100 between American Flatbread and The Elusive Moose from July to June.

Rob Young, VTrans representative, and project engineer Dave Kull met with the Waitsfield Select Board, a Warren Select Board member, business owners and the public on July 13 to discuss the project.


The project involves replacing the bridge with a pre-cast bridge that is built off-site and assembled in place. It requires closing the bridge for 33 days with the official state detour taking drivers up Route 17 to German Flats Road to Sugarbush Access Road, a 10-mile detour. The state planned to close the road from July 5 through August 6, but after this week's meeting will look into whether that can be moved up so that the bulk of the closure occurs at the end of May and in June, getting the project completed before July 4.

Young explained that the project will include creation of space under the bridge for a bike path on both sides of the road.

Kull provided details about the construction process, explaining that it will improve the width of the bridge, remove the pier in the middle of the river and be built with a new type of concrete that is two to three times stronger than regular concrete.


There had also been talk about moving the driveway to American Flatbread further north, away from the bridge, as part of this project. Clay Westbrook and George Schenk of American Flatbread discussed the difficulty for drivers to see oncoming traffic when leaving the business.

When the bridge is replaced it will go from a two-span structure to a single-span structure. It will be 172 feet long instead of 130 to140 feet. The project is built off-site and assembled "like Legos" on-site, Kull said. Additionally, the contract includes funds for the contractor to pre-assemble the pre-cast pieces off-site to make sure there are no issues, before assembling the pieces at the site.

There are also financial incentives for the contractor to finish early and penalties for finishing late. The project will involve blasting to break up rock versus jackhammering it. A gravel causeway will be built in the river to remove the existing pier. Contractors will be working seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.


VTrans will be monitoring the state of the local roads being used for the detour and the bid will include funds to repair any damage from the additional traffic.

When the project was first introduced to the officials from Warren, Waitsfield and Fayston, there was a consensus that the road closure should occur during July so that school buses would not be on the road.

At this week's meeting, there was a great deal of concern about the impact of a July closure on the two closest businesses, The Elusive Moose and American Flatbread.


Ginger Locke, one of the owners of The Elusive Moose, told the group that a July closure would be disastrous for her business. She said she'd be closed by September if the road was closed in July.

Young explained that state regulations don't allow contractors to be in the river until June 1 and they must be out by October 1. Select board members asked if prep work could begin in late May and the road closure occur in June to avoid impacting local businesses.


would work with the towns to set appropriate speed limits.

Young was asked about VTrans' track record for keeping on schedule and Young said it was 100 percent and contractors generally get their full incentive payments for early completion.

Bob Ackland, Warren Select Board, said that June is typically very rainy and may not be the best month for construction. Young responded that the type of work that would occur when the road is closed is putting pieces together versus creating them and said that the financial incentives for contractors are such that rain doesn't typically stop work. {jcomments on}