DUMMERSTON -- While major construction work for a new Interstate 91 bridge over Route 30 won’t happen until 2014, officials in Dummerston and Brattleboro are making preparations.
Because the project will periodically shut Route 30, there is concern that heavy traffic could divert to Upper Dummerston Road.
So officials have surveyed the road and are developing a plan for repairs in advance of the bridge work.
"We’re working with the town of Brattleboro to come up with a plan to make it safer for the I-91 bridge detour," said Lee Chamberlin, Dummerston’s road foreman. "We’re in the beginning stages of that."
Chamberlin updated the Selectboard on those efforts at a Wednesday meeting, saying officials are determining what sections of Upper Dummerston Road -- which lies in both Brattleboro and Dummerston -- might require an upgrade.
Chamberlin said he wants to ensure that both towns "are working with the same ideas."
The information will be forwarded to Windham Regional Commission, where Senior Planner Matt Mann said the state Agency of Transportation may cover some Upper Dummerston Road project costs.
"I’ll work with VTrans and then see what is feasible," Mann said.
Chamberlin also has been taking a closer look at potential improvements at the intersection of Camp Arden Road and East-West Road on the east side of Dummerston Covered Bridge.
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The idea is to make it "easier and safer to pull into the covered bridge," Chamberlin said. "We’re figuring there’s going to be more traffic on East-West Road during the (I-91) bridge closure."
Officials said cost estimates for the intersection work are forthcoming. The state also could play a role in that project, though it is not clear to what extent.
"I think we should at least gather the information," Selectboard member Steve Glabach said.
The Selectboard’s more-immediate concern, however, is construction at the covered bridge itself. The 140-year-old span has been shut since last month as Renaud Brothers Inc. of Vernon addresses an erosion problem at the bridge’s wing walls.
The job is scheduled for completion in mid-September.
"It seems that they’re going along on schedule," Selectboard member Tom Bodett said, adding that there have been "no surprises" during initial phases of the work.
A park-and-ride lot at the bridge’s western entrance and a swimming hole underneath are closed to the public during the project.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.