Patrols planned for Route 30 closure
BRATTLEBORO -- In preparation for the two-day closure of Route 30 this week in Brattleboro, contractors and officials developed a detour that stretches all the way into Windsor County.
But everyone involved knows that many drivers will take much shorter routes. And, on at least one road, there will be extra police officers monitoring that traffic.
"Brattleboro Police Department has been planning for this with extra speed enforcement on Upper Dummerston Road," police Chief Gene Wrinn said. "We will have an officer specifically assigned to monitor for overweight trucks on the road as well as monitoring for speed."
The Route 30 closure, scheduled to begin at 8 a.m. Wednesday and lasting for a maximum of 48 hours, is made necessary by the replacement of the Interstate 91 bridge overhead.
VTrans officials and contractors have pledged to keep such closures as brief and as infrequent as possible. But this week's disruption "is required to ensure the safety of the traveling public while demolition work is conducted on the existing I-91 northbound bridge spanning Route 30," officials said.
Updated project information is available at www.I91brattleborobridge.com.
Also on that website is a map of an official detour that takes effect when Route 30 is closed. That route sends traffic on a loop through Rockingham and Chester via I-91, Route 11 and Route 103.
Eric Foster, a VTrans engineer overseeing the I-91 bridge project, said that detour adds 22 miles for through traffic.
In proposing detours, officials must find a route capable of handling heavy traffic and/or large trucks. Caleb Linn of PCL Civil Contractors, the company building the new I-91 bridge, said the Route 30 detour "is the safest accessible detour that's been proposed by the design-build team and accepted by VTrans."
But there have been long-term discussions among local officials about the likelihood that some displaced Route 30 drivers will use Upper Dummerston Road, which lies in both Brattleboro and Dummerston, or East-West Road in Dummerston.
Those routes are not suitable for large vehicles, and that's one of the problems Brattleboro police will watch for.
At this point, though, there does not appear to be any larger-scale law-enforcement presence planned. As of Monday, Windham County Sheriff Keith Clark said he had not been asked to provide any additional patrols in the area.
And Cpt. Ray Keefe, commander of Vermont State Police Troop D, said his agency would be monitoring the situation.
"We currently are not planning any ‘official' enforcement details to address (the Route 30 closure) but we will act accordingly to any and all complaints that may arise out of this," Keefe wrote in an e-mail to the Reformer.
"If this does become a real-time issue in any location, then we will apply some traffic-safety response," Keefe added.
Linn said project administrators met with officials in Brattleboro and Dummerston "to discuss the closure and the dates."
There also have been discussions with emergency responders.
"They're aware of the closure and understand the routes they have to take," Foster said.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.
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