Quechee Gorge Fence Installation Behind Schedule

  • Vermont Agency of Transportation officials are planning to install a temporary 9-foot-high chain-link-type fence at the Quechee Gorge Bridge, with holes cut in the fence similar to the fence above, to provide a view of the gorge. The fence is due to be installed by the end of the summer. (Courtesy Vermont Agency of Transportation)

Published: 9/13/2018 12:13:43 AM
Modified: 9/14/2018 7:55:28 AM

Quechee — The installation of a temporary fence at the Quechee Gorge Bridge, which is one of a series of measures to prevent suicides there, is slightly behind schedule but is slated to start within the next two weeks.

Vermont Agency of Transportation spokeswoman Jill Barrett said the project will be completed by Oct. 26, if not sooner, which is about a month later than the project goal of Sept. 20.

“That proved to be overly optimistic, even within VTrans’ streamlined bidding process. While the project was advertised by the end of July and a contractor selected by mid-August, a month lead time was needed for the delivery of material, fabrication of the posts and custom fittings to attach the safety fence to the existing bridge rail posts,” Barrett said in an email on Wednesday.

The 9-foot-tall fence will be green and will be attached to the existing bridge railings. The project is slated to cost $184,200, with the state paying 20 percent of that cost.

The temporary fence stemmed from legislation passed in 2016 requiring officials to implement suicide-prevention measures and improve pedestrian and first responder safety in response to a number of suicides and other incidents at the gorge. A long-term plan for improved safety at the site is in the works.

Miller Construction, of Windsor, has been selected as the contractor for the temporary fence project, with help from Lafayette Highway Specialties, of Essex Junction, Vt.

The project will take about 3½ weeks, Barrett said. Traffic on Route 4 over the bridge will be reduced to one lane while the work is being done.

There will be no work on the weekends, including Columbus Day weekend, beginning at noon on Oct. 4 and running through Oct. 9.

One sidewalk over the bridge will remain open for travel and sightseeing, Barrett said.

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