By Kara Herlihy
The truss bridge on U.S. Route 2 between Moretown and Middlesex was closed Friday, May 30, by the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) due to safety concerns.
VTrans determined that the almost 80-year-old bridge had structural flaws that led the agency to close the bridge indefinitely. VTrans plans to tear down the bridge and erect a temporary one in its place.
According to VTrans representative John Zicconi, the temporary one-lane bridge will have a traffic light on both sides to control traffic flow while the bridge will have no height or weight restrictions.
Zicconi continues, "We plan to begin work as soon as possible. We are scheduling a site meeting for later this week so potential contractors can assess the bridge, and then give interested contractors time to put bids together so we can have a competitive bidding process. Our goal is to have a contractor in place so we can begin deconstruction of the bridge starting in early July, which is the fastest it can begin because federal regulations require us -- due to the historic nature of the steel truss -- to advertise the existing bridge for sale for 30 days before we can tear it down."
COMPLETED BY LABOR DAY
Work on the temporary bridge will begin immediately, according to state officials, and hopefully be completed by Labor Day. Until then, the bridge will remain closed to all traffic.
"You may remember the Tenney Truss Bridge along Route 15A in Morristown that last summer we closed, tore down, and erected a temporary bridge. The process we face here is very similar, only this bridge is about twice as long: about 250 feet," Zicconi said.
Wexler said that the 65 trucks per day coming from the Moretown Landfill will have to reroute through Waterbury in the interim. State officials suggest interstate I-89 as the alternative route.
REPLACE THIS BRIDGE
"We have long planned to replace this bridge with a new one. Currently, the target date is 2010 construction with an opening date of 2011. We will look for ways to bring the new bridge on line sooner if possible," Zicconi added. The bridge is estimated to cost around $750,000.