SUNDERLAND - The state of the Kelley Stand, a historic dirt road that connects Sunderland with Wardsboro, was the topic of discussion at an informational meeting last Wednesday, Dec. 19. The road, typically closed during the winter months, was badly damaged during Tropical Storm Irene in august, 2011, and has not been open to through traffic since.

Prospects for the road's rebuilding may, however, at long last be taking a step forward, with the help of Green Mountain National Forest and money from the federal highway funds.

"They were talking about the plan and what they were going to do, and where they are going to make changes, and what the eventual road design is going to be," said Sunderland selectboard chairman Mark Hyde. "The one major caveat is that they don't have funding for it at this point. So, it's a lot of talk but the question is weather or not we will be able to do it. Obviously its going to be a multimillion dollar project, and there is no possible way Sunderland can foot that bill so its got to be the forest service coming up with the money."

According to the Department of Agriculture Forest Service, work on Kelley Stand Road includes road and bridge restoration, rock excavation, stream restoration, and other activities on both National Forest land and private land. The road is the only east-west route through the mountains between route 11/30 in Manchester and VT Route 9 in Bennington.


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It connects US-7 in Sunderland and Arlington to VT Route 100 in Stratton providing important recreation access to the trailhead parking area for the Appalachian Trail and Long Trail as well as snowmobile access.

The project meets one of the goals of a Forest Plan, which is to "provide a safe, efficient, and effective forest transportation system that meets both the needs of the Forest Service and the public."

It also touches on other important forest plan goals like restoration of habitats, restore the ecological process, provide recreation opportunities, and enhance partnerships within communities and organizations. According to the Kelley Stand Road Flood Repairs Project decision memo signed on Nov. 27, the final design for this work is scheduled to be completed by March 2013. Actual project implementation would likely occur during the summer and fall months of 2013.