BRATTLEBORO -- The design manager of the I-91 replacement bridge that will cross over Route 30 and the West River said Thursday his company is trying to reduce or eliminate the hazardous glare some people have reported after driving through the project.
Garrett Hoffman, of FIGG Bridge Engineers Inc., which is based in Exton, Pa., acknowledged the problem to the Reformer and said his company is working with the Vermont Agency of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration to address complaints made about the glare. He said the issue might be glare produced by sunlight or night-time construction lights used on the site. PCL Civil Constructors Inc. -- headquartered in Denver -- is handling the construction.
"There are a variety of solutions, but the problem with any project like this is that the solutions can be worse than the problem," said Hoffman. "It gets kind of tricky. But we are aware of what is going on."
Hoffman said a potential solution could be to install a sort of glare reduction screen. He added, however, that it is important to reduce the glare in a safe way.
The Reformer has received several letters this week in regards to the glare. One, from Gail W. Speno, of Brattleboro, echoed another from Linda Grout. Speno wrote that she was recently driving in the southbound lane when it was dark outside and the glare became a problem.
"I very cautiously crept across the construction while northbound cars' headlights were blinding over the top of the barrier," she wrote. "As the lead car in a line of cars, I had no one guiding me. The solution may very well be to put some netting on top of the barrier, but something surely must be done to cut the glare of on-coming lights."
Another letter, from Putney resident Penelope Simpson, referred to the "perilous night-blindness drivers experience on I-91 in the work zone over the Route 30 bridge."
"The on-coming lights, both going south or coming north, even in fair weather conditions, creates an unnecessary public risk," she said.
The bridge project is slated to cost about $60 million and to be complete in Fall 2015. The old double span is in the process of being deconstructed and will be replaced by a single span that meets federal width standards.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow Domenic on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.