Benmont Avenue bridge reopens to traffic

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BENNINGTON >> The Benmont Avenue bridge was on-track to fully reopen by Saturday morning, marking a substantial completion of a months-long reconstruction project.

Traffic and pedestrian detours will no longer be in effect, according to a spokesperson for Alpine Construction.

It's the first time both lanes of the bridge, which connects Benmont Avenue and Northside Drive, will be open since a state managed reconstruction project began last spring. The most recent closure was so crews could complete work on the concrete bridge deck.

Crews still need to put finishing touches on the bridge, according to Natalie Boyle, project outreach coordinator for Greenman-Pedersen Inc.

"There may be periods of intermittent work for a few weeks following, and there may or may not be flaggers on site directing the flow of traffic," Boyle, whose firm was retained by Alpine Construction of Schuylerville, N.Y., wrote in an email on Friday. But once the bridge opens, "it's pretty much open for good."

The bridge was reduced to one lane last March and since then, only northbound traffic has been allowed. Traffic from Northside Drive, which would normally continue south over the bridge, has been detoured during construction. The bridge was fully closed for other short periods during construction.

Town Manager Stuart Hurd said he's "thrilled to see it open."

"Everyone has been so patient including the affected businesses," Hurd said. "This will help smooth the traffic flow on Northside Drive as well."

The project had a construction cost of just over $1.8 million and an engineering cost of about $1 million, for a total of about $2.8 million. The town is responsible for 5 percent of the cost, and the federal government for the remaining 95 percent.

The 250-foot concrete bridge connects vehicle and pedestrian traffic across the Roaring Branch Walloomsac Brook. It was constructed in 1938 and is sometimes referred to as the Hunt Street bridge. According to the state Agency of Transportation, it was in poor condition. Officials have said that while the bridge is safe, it was rapidly deteriorating and needed to be reconstructed. The project includes a new water line to replace one underneath the brook that was left exposed after Tropical Storm Irene in 2011.

Alpine Construction has a contract to work on the bridge through October.

Contact Ed Damon at 802-447-7567, ext. 111.


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