The Vermont Agency of Transportation (VTrans) over the weekend opened a bridge along Route 74 in Shoreham that was closed for repair in mid September. Reopening the bridge in less than seven weeks was possible due to an accelerated construction process that reduces not only the length of construction, but also reduces the cost of repair. Final repair costs are expected to run about $450,000. Repairing the bridge using more traditional construction techniques that include either erecting a temporary bridge or maintaining one lane of traffic over the bridge while it is under construction likely would have added between $100,000 to $300,000 to the cost of the project, and added as many as 12 weeks to the construction schedule. ‘Closing the bridge location to all traffic does inconvenience the public to a greater degree, but it also allows us to finish the project much more quickly and at a significant cost savings,’ said VTrans Secretary Brian Searles. ‘The accelerated construction process is not the best choice in all locations. But as transportation funding becomes tighter, we will be looking for more opportunities to use this technique so that we can stretch our dollars and repair as many deficient bridges as possible.’ The Shoreham bridge, which was closed on September 20, 2011, had significant deck repair needs, including full-depth holes that caused the bridge to be closed, in an emergency fashion, for several days in the spring. The holes were covered with a steel plate, which allowed the bridge to remain open until long-term repairs could be conducted. Reopening the bridge, which was closed as part of VTrans’ regular bridge construction program and not as a result of Tropical Storm Irene, eliminates a 20-mile detour and allows two-way traffic to flow freely along Route 74.
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