Bridge and sidewalk work underway in Jamaica

JAMAICA - Work has already begun to build a permanent, replacement bridge on Route 30 in Jamaica. The original bridge, known as Bridge #30, ran over Ball Mountain Brook but was washed away when Tropical Storm Irene swept through the area. A temporary bridge has been in place since September of 2011.

"It has been in place for years," said VTrans Project Manager Kristin Higgins, "but it is not ideal for permanent use."

The temporary bridge is projected to be taken down in early Fall, when the construction on the new, permanent bridge will be completed.

The new bridge will be in the same style and construction as the previous bridge, and it will be constructed in the same location. It will be slightly longer at 130 feet, but the width will remain the same and will continue to include a sidewalk on the downstream side.

"The railing will be fancier," said Higgins, "and it will be rededicated as the Richard Hube bridge. There will be marble plaques installed in the railings [with the dedication]."

In addition to constructing the bridge, there will have to be work done on the embankment as well.

"They will have to stabilize the bank about 50 to 100 feet on either side... to keep the river flowing," said Higgins. "The bank was destroyed [in the storm], so they will have to make the channel smoother."

During work on the new bridge, Higgins said that there will be no need to create new detours. However, there is a chance that the road will need to narrow to single-lane from time to time during construction.

"The spacing is not ideal," said Higgins, "so there will likely be a lane reduction."

Higgins expressed that it would have been optimal for the bridge to be constructed higher up from the water, but that will not be possible. Instead, they intend to install a deeper foundation into the ground on either side of the embankment.

The funding for the project came from a combination of federal, Emergency Relief (ER) funding, and from the State of Vermont.

"The temporary bridge installation was 100 percent federal money," said Higgins, "but since this is a state road, now we are getting some money from the state. It is about an 80-20 split."

The entire project, not including the initial installation of the temporary bridge, will end up costing approximately $2.4 million. Higgins was thrilled to say that the cost is much less than what VTrans had initially estimated. The removal of the temporary bridge will cost approximately $80 thousand of that total budget.

"We're getting everything back to the way it was," said Higgins.

The town is also in the midst of replacing the sidewalks in Jamaica Village.

That project also began on April 15 and is expected to be completed by June 15, according to town officials.

"They appear to be ahead of schedule so we're looking good for that date," said Select Board member Lou Brusco.

Eighty percent of the project is being funded through a federal grants, which are being adminstered by the state Brusco said.

The town received the first grant - which was for $293,894 - in 2011 prior to Tropical Storm Irene. At the time the total estimated cost of the project was $367,368. However, when the town was going out to bid for construction last month they discovered that they did not have enough money. They applied for - and received - another grant for $65,484, bringing the total cost of the project to $449,223.

Select board chair Lexa Clark said that the town had been discussing replacing the sidewalks prior to Irene, but said the process would have taken longer if hadn't gotten the grants.

"Our sidewalks were really getting bad and in disrepair. So, we applied for the grant and received it," said Clark. "[If we hadn't gotten the grant] it wouldn't be this elaborate. Because of the flooding [from] Irene our funds are limited so we probably would have just done a few sections at time because it's very expensive to put sidewalks in and there wouldn't be granite curbing."


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