DUMMERSTON -- The state is sending $35,000 for Dummerston's covered bridge renovations, easing concerns that the project could exceed its budget.
News of the additional funding came as a Vernon contractor this week closed the historic bridge for repairs to the span's wing walls.
"We are going to be getting some more money. That should take care of the shortfall that possibly could've happened," Selectboard member Zeke Goodband said. "So it looks like we're good to go."
Officials have a $200,000 transportation enhancement grant for bridge work, but construction bids were higher than expected. To cover any shortfall, officials had advertised an Aug. 23 special town meeting to allocate additional money for the job from a fiscal year 2012 budgetary surplus.
That meeting might not be necessary now, though officials on Thursday had not yet made that determination.
The new $35,000 state grant requires a 20-percent local match. Goodband said that won't be a problem, since construction efficiencies are one possible source for the town's matching funds.
"We can either make that up with savings on the project or with (money from) our highway fund," he said.
Officials have said the 140-year-old span, a relatively busy West River crossing off Route 30, is scheduled to remain closed until mid-September as Renaud Brothers Inc. repairs support walls for bridge approaches.
That schedule would affect school bus
The project also is an inconvenience for those who used a park-and-ride lot at the bridge's west entrance and a popular swimming spot underneath the bridge. Both of those areas are closed to the public for safety reasons.
Officials have counseled patience during the work. They also are aware that more drivers are using the town's Green Iron Bridge, which is situated a short distance south off Route 30.
That could create hazards, since drivers must yield to any vehicle on the one-lane bridge.
"We've had people concerned about traffic on the Iron Bridge," Goodband said. "We had some people wanting us to make it one-way."
Others have sought the Iron Bridge's closure during covered bridge work, Goodband said.
Dummerston's Selectboard this week decided to maintain current traffic patterns at the Iron Bridge.
"We're going to look into getting more signage to alert people to the possibility of traffic being stopped there," Goodband said, adding that crews also may trim vegetation to improve visibility at that spot.
There also are concerns that some drivers are attempting to make up lost time by speeding on Quarry Road, which runs north from the Iron Bridge to the eastern side of the covered bridge.
"We're going to ask the sheriff to keep an eye on Quarry Road," Goodband said.
Mike Faher can be reached at email@example.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.