Wet Weather Causes Problems For State Highways

05/20/11 7:34AM By Bob Kinzel
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The flooding is adding to Vermont's road woes. The heavy rain has saturated the road bed in many places, and the Agency of Transportation has exceeded its maintenance budget by 50 percent.
(Host) Vermont's wettest spring on record is causing major problems on the state's highway system.

(Kinzel) All the rain has saturated the ground under many roads, causing potholes and sink holes and, as VPR's Bob Kinzel reports, it's been difficult for the Agency of Transportation to keep up with all the problems.

Wayne Gammell is the Chief of Maintenance for the Transportation Agency's 9 district garages.

He says a rough winter caused the Agency to exceed its maintenance budget by 50 percent and he says the situation this spring is just as bad:

(Gammell) "I've been doing this for 29 years now and I can't remember too many like this that's for sure. We've had some flooding in the past, but this year seems to be one of the worst - if not the worst - for sure."

(Kinzel) Gammell says the excessive rain and flooding has caused road problems in almost every region of the state:

(Gammell) "We've been concentrating a lot on the Champlain Valley area, but we've had flooding and a lot of damages throughout the state -- a lot of wash outs. For example, up on (Route) 114 up in the Island Pond area we had 25 major washouts on that road alone so there's a lot of them around the state."

(Kinzel) And then there's that problem that developed with a broken pipe on Route 14 in East Montpelier:

(Gammell) "There were some small holes in the pipe and the water, all the rain got into those huddles that washes out all the fines and we actually had a large hole develop beside the road it was about 21 feet deep, 12, 15 feet wide. So high water a lot of rain can definitely do that. Everything's really saturated so it causes lots of problems."

(Kinzel) Gammell says the rain has also delayed efforts to fix potholes and begin important paving projects in most parts of Vermont.

But he's optimistic that the state will be able to catch up on its backlog of projects as soon as the weather improves.

For VPR News, I'm Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.

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