Travelers through East Burke will have a detour to contend with starting next Tuesday, May 26. The detour will last three weeks as the Vermont Agency of Transportation replaces the Route 114 bridge over Dish Mill Brook.
The project is part of VTrans' Accelerated Bridge Program, meaning start-to-finish it will take about five months, rather than happening over two construction seasons. The bridge closure is planned for May 26 to June 15 to enable removal of the old bridge and installation of the new bridge. Between mid-June and the project's completion in mid-August, VTrans says traffic will periodically be reduced to one lane during daytime hours.
The new bridge will be wider than the existing bridge, and will be able to accommodate high water events. The project factsheet states:
The existing single span bridge, built in 1925, is narrow and its abutments show significant scour – 90 years of swiftly moving brook water has washed away sediment from around the concrete bridge supports. The 28-foot wide brook has to pass through a channel that is some 6-7 feet narrower at the bridge.
During periods of high water Dish Mill Brook sometimes tops over the bridge and roadway, resulting in long vehicle delays. The opening size of the new bridge over Dish Mill Brook will be increased from about 21 feet to 36 feet along the stream, easing the flow of water passing under the bridge. The design will reduce hydraulic conditions that cause scouring and overtopping.
About 3,600 vehicles cross the bridge per day, according to VTrans. In addition, the current design does not comfortably accommodate vehicles together with bike and pedestrian traffic. The project factsheet notes the new bridge will have a wider sidewalk, two travel lanes and wider shoulders.
The new, 56-foot single span bridge will be about 9 feet wider than the existing bridge, though it will continue to have the same design speed, 30 mph. The width of the present bridge, from curb to curb, is only 20.4 feet, with a 4-foot sidewalk. The replacement bridge will have wider, 11-foot travel lanes, 3 and 4-foot shoulders and a 5.5-foot sidewalk. The roadway approaching the bridge will be slightly widened and shifted on the south side to accommodate the new bridge.
According to VTrans Public Outreach Coordinator Jill Barrett, the state's official detours using Routes 5A, 16 and 105 are for any weight vehicles, but the extra mileage is significant. For traffic coming from the north via I-91 exit 25, the detour adds 20 miles. For traffic coming from the south via I-91 exit 24, the detour adds 48.5 miles. Barrett said here are shorter ways around using town roads for vehicles that do not exceed the weight limit of local roads, and the town may post detour signage for the use of those roads for light vehicle traffic.