Benmont Ave bridge to close two weeks in June

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BENNINGTON >> The Benmont Avenue bridge will be closed for about two weeks in June, a move the contractor says is necessary while concrete hardens and strengthens.

Crews are tentatively scheduled to close the bridge to all through traffic on Monday, June 13 at 7 a.m., according to Natalie Boyle, project outreach coordinator for Greenman-Pedersen Inc.

The bridge will reopen to northbound traffic after about two weeks, said Boyle, whose firm was contracted by Alpine Construction of Schuylerville, N.Y.

Boyle explained the closure is necessary as crews lay concrete for the new bridge deck. She said vibrations from traffic could prevent the concrete from setting correctly.

"In the end, it will give us a stronger, higher quality product," she said.

Alpine Construction is contracted to work on the bridge through October and the project is on-track, according to Boyle.

Since last March, only one lane of the bridge has been open at a time and only northbound traffic has been allowed. Traffic from Northside Drive, which would normally continue south over the bridge, has been detoured during construction.

Officials have said the nearly 80-year-old bridge was safe, but was showing its age and needed to be reconstructed.

The federal government, through the Federal Highway Trust Fund, is kicking in about 95 percent of the total $2.8 million state-managed reconstruction project, leaving the town to pick up the remaining $144,000. That amount includes some $90,000 spent for a new eight-inch water line from Northside Drive south to the end of the bridge. It replaced a water line running under the Walloomsac River that was left exposed after Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

Message boards will inform northbound Benmont Avenue traffic about the bridge closure, Boyle said. Access to businesses at the south end of the bridge will be maintained.

Boyle said work on a new sidewalk, which will be on the bridge's west side parallel to the southbound travel lane, will likely begin in the late summer or early fall. That phase will necessitate the closing of the southbound travel lane. All northbound traffic will thus use the northbound lane, she said.

Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979


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