By Lisa Loomis

VTrans is planning major reconstruction work on a seven-mile section of Route 100 from Harwood Union to Waterbury.

That work will entail closing the road completely for over two weeks and then single lane traffic for several more weeks.

The work was originally slated for April, with the closure dates set from April 13 to 30. Now the project is delayed somewhat, according to VTrans spokesperson John Zirconni.

Zirconni said the VTrans is now going through the bidding process for the project and is also working through the permitting process. There are two parts to this project, the first entails replacing a five-by-six-foot box culvert north of Harwood Union. That is the part of the project that will result in complete closure of the road.

After that the entire road bed will be reconstructed the same way Route 100 from Waitsfield through Moretown was reconstructed last spring into late summer. This means the road will be open, but open to one-way traffic, with flaggers, delays and frequent stops.

"To replace the culvert, we have to take out a section of road and replace the culvert. After that we're going to be reconstructing that seven miles. It's a $4 million reconstruction project," Zirconni said.

"We'll dig down six or eight inches and then reclaim the base of the road, laying three to four inches of asphalt on top. We will be expanding the shoulders to three feet through most, if not the entire length of the project. Bikes will be able to use the three-foot paved shoulders and that will improve the safety for cyclists on that stretch. It will be much nicer for cyclists than it was before," he continued.

Part of the culvert replacement project involves wetlands and a stream; hence, there are stream alteration issues for which the project needs approval from the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources.

Zirconni said ideally VTrans would like to start the process sooner rather than later and said, "It would please us to start in May, but we're not saying we're going to start in May."

"The bid requests we put out had a completion date of August 24 and we hope the project won't last that long. That section of road really needs some work. That seven-mile section will be drastically improved," he added, noting that the short-term pain of traffic delayed would be offset by the long-term gain of an improved and safer roadway.

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