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Temporary Spans Debated for Pulp Mill Bridge repairs

WGN 45-01-04

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Middlebury, VT, July 30, 2009 - Middlebury selectmen are changing their original plan for a temporary span to take traffic from the Pulp Mill Bridge when it closes for extensive repairs in 2011. They will instead lobby the state for intersection improvements to handle the extra traffic that will hit downtown during the project.

The Selectmen had originally wanted a temporary span installed next to the Pulp Mill Bridge during a rebuild that is expected to last more than a year. The Pulp Mill Bridge links Middlebury to Weybridge across the Otter Creek at Seymour Street Extension.

The increasing load on the bridge has resulted major deterioration that limits traffic to one vehicle per lane at a time within the 195-foot-long span. VTrans officials have estimated the repairs at $3.5 million, of which more than $1 million would pay for the temporary span to accommodate the roughly 2,000 cars that travel the route daily.

John Zicconi, of Vtrans, informed Middlebury officials that a temporary bridge would add time and cost to the project. It would delay work on the bridge itself until 2013, because the temporary bridge site will require an archaeological survey and right-of-way negotiations with neighbors.

Zicconi argued to drop plans for the temporary bridge so as to get to the repairs to the Pulp Mill Bridge sooner, while improving the streets in Middlebury to handle detoured traffic.

Middlebury selectmen are not happy with the prospect of adding the bridge's 2,000 per day traffic to Middlebury's 12,000 daily car trips that already flood the village.

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[Our thanks to Irene Barna for bringing us this article - Ed.]

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