By CHRIS GAROFOLO

BRATTLEBORO -- Two Windham County towns have received federal economic stimulus funding to mend a pair of bridges.

Gov. James Douglas announced Monday the Vermont Agency of Transportation will award nearly $900,000 to Newfane and Wardsboro, two of the 30 municipalities and nonprofit groups to receive more than $10 million to improve roadways, sidewalks, bridges and other infrastructure.

"These funds will ensure that Vermont towns and villages receive the benefit of transportation stimulus funding distributed through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act," said Douglas, in a statement.

"Not only will these funds create jobs in towns across Vermont, it will also repair a dozen structurally deficient bridges, build sidewalks and pave miles of town roads that otherwise would not receive attention," said the governor.

The AOT will distribute the federal dollars in three ways:

* Ten communities will receive paving grants ranging from $300,000 to $750,000.

* AOT will expend up to $5 million in stimulus funds to repair 12 structurally deficient town highway bridges.

John Zicconi, AOT’s director of planning, outreach and community affairs, said both Douglas and the Legislature wanted to use the stimulus money to improve the condition of town highway bridges and Class-II roadways while understanding they needed to work within the ARRA time frame.

Newfane will receive $170,000 to replace the deck on the bridge over Baker Brook in the vicinity of Parish Hill Road.

"(That bridge) just needs deck work," said Zicconi. The steel frame and abutments are fine, the bridge just needs the deck replaced, he said.

"It’s deck work we can do quickly. When we improve the deck, it will no longer be structurally deficient," he added. The construction is targeted for next year.

Wardsboro will receive $720,000 for bridge work over Pike Hollow Brook on Arlington Stratton Road.

"This is a bridge that has been in our program and we are excelerating it," said Zicconi. Built in 1939, the bridge will have its steel beams and deck replaced.

It has remained a one-lane bridge for several years, but will reopen as a two-lane structure once the work is completed.

"We’re still assessing how quickly we can get to it, we’re hoping to get to it next year. That’s not a promise, that’s a hope," Zicconi added. Construction teams will finish the bridge work by the end of 2011, as per the ARRA guidelines.

Both Windham County bridges are part of the town highway projects, which AOT selected based on structural deficiency and an ability to complete repairs within the deadlines stipulated by ARRA. The paving grants were issued on a competitive basis while the enhancement grants were issued to communities or nonprofits that demonstrated "shovel ready" projects.

Chris Garofolo can be reached at cgarofolo@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.