BRATTLEBORO -- Anyone with a Sunday routine that takes them across the Hinsdale Bridge will have to seek alternative routes, as the street approaching it will be out of commission for more than 24 hours.
Bridge Street, between Main Street and the Hinsdale Bridge, is slated to be closed from 5 a.m. on Sunday until 6 a.m. on Monday due to railroad track replacement.
According to a statement released by Town Manager Barbara Sondag, one lane of Bridge Street will be opened to alternating traffic on Monday from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. before the street is completely reopened.
Brattleboro Fire Chief Mike Bucossi was notified of the work on Wednesday and told the Reformer he and other town officials met Thursday morning to discuss the fine details.
Bucossi said he, Sondag, Brattleboro Police Chief Gene Wrinn and Highway/Utilities Superintendent Rick Ethier joined contractors at the site to talk about what exactly will be done and how long it will take.
The fire chief said a lot of consideration was put into plans for how any emergency situations would be dealt with. He said a fire truck will be parked on the east side of the tracks on Depot Street as a way to handle any emergency that may occur. Bucossi said if an emergency breaks out in Hinsdale, N.H., a fire truck will be dispatched to the railroad and a crew will run across to get to the other vehicle.
He said the fire department in Hinsdale is the first that responds
Rescue Inc., which services Hinsdale, also has been involved in the planning. Chief Mark Considine said he has had conversations with Hinsdale Fire Chief Jay Matuszewski about ways to deal with emergencies, such as following the Brattleboro Fire Department’s lead and placing a vehicle on Depot Street.
The chief said the decision of where to transport a patient is made once Rescue Inc. arrives at the scene and assesses the situation, though consideration is given to patient stability and preference. The three hospitals Rescue Inc. transports to are Brattleboro Memorial Hospital, Cheshire Medical Center in Keene, N.H., and Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Mass.
Considine said there are contingency plans that involve utilizing Mutual Aid for assistance from neighboring communities.
Plans have also been made to reopen Bridge Street in the case of a catastrophic emergency.
"(The closure) will definitely have an effect on downtown traffic," Bucossi said.
The railroad track replacement is part of a larger project upgrading rail crossings in Vermont. The new rails will enable faster train speeds and will increase freight loads.
Amtrak will be running its normal schedule on both Sunday and Monday, but there will be no parking near the station. Riders of the Beeline Bus should expect delays on Monday.
Anyone seeking further information about the street closure can call the town manager’s office at 802-251-8100.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.