Duxbury's dirt roads to see more traffic

What happens when one town’s project diverts drivers to another town’s dirt roads?

For the town of Duxbury, it means extensive additional maintenance on River Road, which is being heavily used by drivers avoiding Waterbury’s three-year Main Street construction project.

Duxbury will be getting squeezed from both the north and the south next summer when a bridge replacement at the southern end of Moretown will cause the closure of Route 100B for 60 days. While the official detour is Route 2, those in the know will use Stevens Brook Road, a narrow dirt road that lies in both Duxbury and Moretown. It connects Route 100 to Route 100B north of the closure.

Mari Pratt, a member of the Duxbury Select Board, attended an August 5 VTrans presentation on the Moretown bridge construction project with questions. Pratt said she was worried about Stevens Brook Road and what will happen if it becomes more heavily used. She said it is already used as a flow-through road and used as a detour to cut through the two towns.

VTrans awarded Duxbury a grant that will be paid in two separate sums of $91,900 for additional River Road maintenance including dust control and law enforcement. One portion was paid in April 2019; the other will follow in April 2020. This grant money will be included as a line item in next year’s budget.

With the extra traffic flow, River Road has had to be graded and has had chloride on it more often than in past years. Duxbury encountered a hard spring with major flooding events stacked on top of each other requiring emergency fixes on top of the weekly maintenance to River Road.

“This was an agreement between VTrans and Duxbury. It was to help assist the town with maintenance of River Road due to the increased traffic,” said Duxbury Select Board assistant Jonathan DeLabruere via email.

In addition to the bridge work next summer, Moretown will also have two other construction projects happening on Main Street, including sidewalk installation and paving. This has some Duxbury residents concerned about even more traffic on their roads on top of Waterbury’s load due to detour routes. Moretown has received a state grant to help maintain Stevens Brook Road and Pony Farm Road during the Route 100B bridge closure. The amount has not yet been determined.

The official VTrans detour for people leaving Moretown headed north or south is to take Route 100B to Route 2 east and then hit the interstate at Middlesex or use Route 2 to connect with Route 100 (if headed to The Valley). But those in the know will likely be using Pony Farm Road to head south onto either North Road or Meadow Road to get to Waitsfield. Those heading into Moretown from the south are likely to use those routes. Drivers headed to Moretown from the north are likely to use Stevens Brook Road and those headed north from Moretown are likely to use that road as well.