By Virginia Dean, Standard Correspondent
In a joint meeting Tuesday evening, Village Trustees and Woodstock Select Board members learned from Municipal Manager Phil Swanson that the Central Street bridge project is “hot on our tails.”
Swanson related that a state project to overhaul the 82-year-old Bridge 51 that spans Kedron Brook on Route 4 adjacent to the village post office is now slated to officially begin on April 16, 2018, although additional work will actually start a month before.
The project includes replacing the entire superstructure, including the T-beams and railings on the 34-foot-long structure, according to the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
Beginning on March 19, prep work will begin on the bridge, Swanson explained.
“The work is necessary and preliminary, ahead of when the old bridge will be demolished and Central Street will be closed as of April 16,” said Swanson.
From mid-March to mid-April, two-way traffic will be maintained and work will occur on the north side of the bridge, Swanson said. Parking will be discontinued on the south side of Central Street between High Street and Mechanic Street. Traffic will be shifted to the south side of Central Street.
For local residents, Swanson will notify High Street residents via letter that their road will be also closed to traffic although they will be able to enter and exit it via Route 106 and Mechanic Street and/or Cross Street.
At the intersection of High and Central Streets, the American Legion parking space will be used for VTrans staging.
A 40-mile regional detour is set to be observed by local, state and out-of-state traffic as the federal highway of U.S. Route 4 will be closed for three weeks beginning April 16th. In the 7 days prior to the bridge closure period, traffic may be limited to a minimum of one lane, two-way traffic. Local traffic will be rerouted for about a half-mile along Pleasant and Elm Streets.
Eastbound trucks will be detoured south on Route 106, east through West Windsor on Route 44, and then north through Hartland on Routes 5 and 12, resulting in a 40-mile path that would take approximately 75 minutes to navigate.
Passenger cars traveling east on U.S. Route 4 will be asked to access Pleasant Street, Elm Street, then back to U.S. Route 4. The local detour, that is .56 miles end-to-end, will not be appropriate for trucks due to the geometric constraints and the volume of traffic on US Route 4.
The Route 4 detour of 39.7 miles will include U.S. Route 4 to VT Route 12, U.S. Route 5 (VT Route 12), VT Route 44, VT Route 106, back to U.S. Route 4. The White River-Rutland truck detour of 55 miles includes U.S. Route 4 east to VT Route 100 north, to VT Route 107 north, to Interstate 89 south. From White River to Rutland, vehicles should take Interstate 89/Interstate 91, I-89 north to Exit 3, to
VT 107 south, to VT 100 south, to U.S. Route 4 west. According to VTrans, the existing bridge is hydraulically inadequate which will remain substandard due to site constraints. The structure is an historic single-span concrete T-beam bridge with an ornamental concrete parapet railing constructed in 1935. The new superstructure will be erected using prefabricated bridge elements to reduce onsite construction time and bridge closure period. It will be the same length and 56-feet wide to match the existing cross section. There will be two 11-foot travel lanes, 8-foot parking lane on the left, 8-6-inch parking lane on the right, 8-6-inch sidewalk on the left, and 7-foot sidewalk on the right.
As part of the project, new sidewalks, pedestrian islands, and speed feedback signs will be installed between January and July 2018.
The target construction schedule is approximately two months or one construction season, Swanson said.
“This is going to be tough,” said Village Trustee Chair Jeffrey Kahn. “There’s no way around it.”
This article first appeared in the December 21, 2017 edition of the Vermont Standard.