The Vermont Agency of Transportation today announced that progress is being made to restore vehicle access to the critical State highway network.
To date, 118 segments of Vermont State roadways were reported damaged, and 84 of those road segments are now reopened to at least some level of traffic. As for bridges, 24 State highway bridges were once closed. Fifteen of them have been reopened to at least reduced levels.
"Our top priority is to ensure safety and access for Vermonters isolated by Tropical Storm Irene. We are restoring both emergency vehicle access and utility company access to every Vermont community as quickly as possible," said Transportation Secretary Brian Searles. "We are well on our way to accomplishing these goals."
Other priorities include establishing full public access to towns that now only have emergency access, establishing complete east-west mobility in critical locations so that truck traffic and commerce can flow with limited delays, and inspecting all bridges of concern.
"Restoring east-west traffic is one of the keys to returning state commerce back to normal," Searles said. "By Saturday morning, Route 103 between Rockingham and Clarendon, which has been restricted since the storm, will be open to two lanes of traffic along its entirety."
Vehicle access in once-isolated communities has also been restored. The majority of all roads in the towns of Clarendon, Tinmouth, Wallingford, Danby and Mount Tabor, towns once cut off from the rest of the state, are now passable, with all areas reachable.
While access has been restored, the road conditions are still very rough in many areas and Vermonters are urged to stay away from damaged areas.
Information regarding the number of town highway segments and town highway bridges damaged and impassible as a result of Irene are still being tabulated.
A map with the most recent updates of the state system is available at www.aot.state.vt.us