BRATTLEBORO -- A section of road between Exits 2 and 3 on I-91 was closed on Saturday night and did not re-open until late Sunday, causing massive traffic delays on the highway and throughout the area's secondary roads.
According to a press release from the Vermont State Police, the decision to close the portion of I-91 was made in the interest of public safety. Engineers said the bridge over the West River that is being removed was leaning slightly.
On Sunday afternoon, Canal Street and Route 5 were reported as being backed up.
Area residents shared their frustration on the Reformer's Facebook page:
"A gal at the gas station said 91 (northbound) is all backed up all the way down to Greenfield (Mass.
"Plan on 2+ hours to get through. Stuck an hour from Putney to Brattleboro. Still not to Exit 3 yet."
"Gridlock on Putney Road."
And just after 10 p.m. on Sunday night, officials confirmed via e-mail that "(t)he work needed to ensure public safety has been completed. I-91 is now open."
Company officials involved in the project were not available for comment.
As part of the ongoing construction project, a section of Route 30 was closed starting on Friday. A detour was in place, through Upper Dummerston Road.
"The shearing of the steel of the bridge that is being demolished will be noisy and will be limited to the hours of 6 a.m. and 8 p.m., so as to minimize the noise impacts on nearby residents," a project update from i91brattleborobridge.com stated. "Once the closure begins, no through traffic will be permitted on Route 30 through the I-91 right-of-way." Editor's Note: This story has been updated since appearing in print.
Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.