By Lisa Loomis
The Vermont Agency of Transportation has delayed a repaving/reconstruction project for Route 100 from Waitsfield to Warren from 2010 to 2012.
Citing lack of funds, VTrans defunded the $5,620,000 project from 2010 to 2012 in its recently released Statewide Transportation Improvement Program (STIP), released earlier this month.
The project entailed reconstructing 7.463 miles of Route 100 beginning 3.03 miles north of the Granville/Warren town line and extending north on Route 100 through Waitsfield Village. It also included repaving/reconstructing the intersection of Route 100 and Route 17.
The project was to have included paved shoulders for biking and other pedestrian uses between Waitsfield and Warren.
Although the delay may dismay bikers and pedestrians and others who use the road, the delay is not all bad news, according to Waitsfield Town Administrator Valerie Capels, who brought the news to the select board this week at an October 26 meeting.
"Steve Gladczuk, from the Central Vermont Regional Planning Commission, said the delay was budgetary -- that VTrans was running short on funds for the 2011 fiscal year. The road overlay put down in August bought us some time. And the additional time could work in our favor for our water and sidewalk projects. The design process will be beginning next month," Capels said.
Waitsfield is in the design phase for a municipal water project slated to be constructed next year. Concurrent with the installation of the water mains alongside Route 100 is a sidewalk project. Ideally the water project would be completed prior to the start of the sidewalk project. The town had hoped to coordinate its work with VTrans' original plans to reconstruct that section of Route 100 in 2010.
"If either the water project or sidewalk project get delayed, the VTrans delay could work in our favor," Capels said.
Waitsfield residents and others have lobbied hard to have VTrans create the widest bike lanes possible between Warren and Waitsfield, and the Waitsfield Select Board has appointed a committee to monitor the state agency's plans for this project. The town's position is that a four-foot paved shoulder (for biking, etc.) must be maintained where possible.
Capels, Gladczuk and others working on this project will meet for a discussion and site visit at the Waitsfield Town Offices on November 13 at 8:30 a.m.