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Thu May 25, 2023 - Northeast Edition
Primary construction is set to get under way in the spring and summer of 2024 to replace the Interstate 91 bridge decks across U.S. Route 5/Canal Street in Brattleboro, Vt., with preliminary work slated to begin late this year.
"There will be activities this fall but they shouldn't have a major impact on the traveling public," Bob Klinefelter, project manager at the Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans), told the Brattleboro Select Board at its meeting in mid-May.
In its description of the project, the state agency said the work will involve replacing the existing concrete bridge decks and rehabilitating the existing concrete abutments and piers.
"The existing bridge decks are in fair condition overall but are in need of replacement due to large areas of concrete spalling with exposed reinforcing steel on the fascias and multiple areas where the concrete is heavily saturated with popouts on the underside of the deck," VTrans noted in the project fact sheet on its website.
The department said the bridge's substructure, though, is in "satisfactory condition."
VTrans evaluated several alternatives for rehabilitation or replacement of the bridge in an engineering study completed in September 2021. The examination assessed the proposed design criteria for the structure, right-of-way, potential impacts to rare, threatened, or endangered species, hydraulics and resource impacts.
Several alternatives were considered, including taking no action, performing deck overhang reconstruction, deck replacement, and superstructure replacement. The agency also looked at how best to maintain the corridor's traffic during construction, including the use of an offsite detour, a temporary bridge, crossovers and phased construction.
Given the age of the structure and current conditions, though, a bridge deck replacement was deemed to be the best choice.
Temporary crossovers will be used on I-91 to keep traffic moving while each bridge deck is replaced, and alternating one-way traffic will be used on U.S. 5/Canal Street at times throughout construction, the Brattleboro Reformer reported May 23.
The news source learned that VTrans anticipates construction of the I-91 crossovers will occur at some point this fall, and the work will be sequenced to avoid use of I-91 crossovers during holiday weekends.
Due to be replaced first will be the southbound bridge deck over a period of approximately 56 days during March through May in 2024. Later, VTrans will supervise building a new northbound bridge deck over 49 days during July through August.
Additionally, the I-91 southbound onramp for southbound U.S. 5 traffic will be shuttered while both bridge decks are being rebuilt. A temporary ramp is due to be built for southbound U.S. 5 traffic to access the southern I-91 southbound on-ramp.
Minor changes also will be made to the northbound off-ramp along with some safety improvements on Canal Street.
VTrans wants the I-91 bridge deck project to be completed before Labor Day weekend in 2024. Incentives are built into the building contract to strongly encourage meeting deadlines.