VTrans has hired a contractor to replace Bridge 177 on Route 100 over the Mad River between Lareau Farm and The Elusive Moose.

VTrans has also changed the dates when Route 100 will be closed for the project, from mid-May to mid-June, opening by July 4, to mid-June through mid-July, closed for July 4.

VTrans project manager Rob Young said that after discussions with the Fayston Select Board about the impact of closing Route 100 (and detouring traffic around the closure via Route 17, German Flats and Sugarbush Access Road), the board expressed a preference for the detour occurring after school gets out in mid-June.

“Although the consensus was to begin the closure as soon as possible when we met in July, it was going to be moved as long as the area schools were OK with it,” Young said.

“Apparently towards the end of the school year, students at Fayston Elementary School are crossing the road frequently to get to the town-owned Chase Forest,” he said.

VTrans has hired A.L. St. Onge as the contractor to replace the bridge during the 2016 construction season.

The bridge was built in 1938 and now is in poor condition. The new bridge will improve safety and meet current design standards. Construction will begin in April/May 2016 and is scheduled for completion in September 2016. The cost of the bridge replacement is estimated at approximately $4,220,668.

The closure will take place from mid-June for approximately 35 days. During the bridge closure period, traffic will be detoured from Route 100 to Route 17, to German Flats Road, to Sugarbush Access Road and connect to Route 100.

After Tropical Storm Irene in August of 2011, VTrans accelerated construction methods out of necessity and from that experience learned to build bridges faster while minimizing project impacts. The Accelerated Bridge Program (ABP) was implemented in 2012 to improve the condition of Vermont’s waterway crossings while reducing project costs through expedited project development, delivery and construction.

The ABP uses innovative techniques and short-term road closures to rehabilitate or replace deteriorated bridges and culverts across Vermont in mere weeks, compared to projects that would take an entire construction season using conventional techniques. For the Lareau bridge, the biggest difference in reconstructing it with the ABP is that the crews will not install a temporary bridge like they did two summers ago with the Kingsbury iron bridge in Warren. Instead, Route 100 will be closed for several weeks starting next July.

As part of the Lareau bridge reconstruction project, crews will make a bench cut in the northern riverbank in order to facilitate the creation of an underpass on which pedestrians and bicycles can cross Route 100 from Lareau Swim Hole to Lareau Farm. The underpass will someday create a direct and safe connection between the Austin Walk and the Revolution Trail at American Flatbread.

With Accelerated Bridge Construction, bridge components are constructed off-site and then installed using heavy lifting equipment. During construction, a bridge closure will be in effect for 35 days beginning in mid-June. During this closure, traffic will be rerouted on a detour route.

VTrans has launched a website to keep the public informed about the project (http://waitsfield.vtransprojects.vermont.gov). During construction, VTrans will post project information and weekly construction updates on this website.