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Quechee Gorge Suicide Fence Delayed Amid Foliage Season Traffic Concerns

  • While enroute to Woodstock, Vt., bus tour participants stop at the Quechee Gorge in Quechee, Vt., to take a look on a foggy afternoon on October 9, 2015. (Valley News - Sarah Priestap) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • 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)



Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Quechee — The construction of a temporary fence — one of several measures to prevent suicides at the Quechee Gorge — has been delayed amid concerns the construction could impact traffic during fall foliage season, Vermont Agency of Transportation officials said on Tuesday.

VTrans pushed the start date to Oct. 15, the second delay for the project this month, after residents said they feared traffic congestion during a busy time for tourism, spokeswoman Jill Barrett said.

“By adjusting the start of construction until mid-October, there will be unrestricted flow of two-way vehicular traffic and both sidewalks available to tourists for viewing and taking photographs of the gorge prime foliage weeks,” Barrett said in an email.

In the meantime, Barrett said, VTrans will provide additional security at the bridge. Just what that will look like isn’t clear.

“We look forward to the safe completion of this project and the beginning of our discussions with stakeholders on the design and construction of the new permanent bridge railing,” she said.

The project was originally slated to be finished this week, but officials earlier this month said that timeline was overly optimistic.

In mid-September, Barrett said the project would be completed by Oct. 26.

With the new Oct. 15 start date, the project won’t be completed until early to mid-November, as the work is estimated to take about 3½ weeks to complete, according to Barrett.

Traffic on Route 4 over the bridge will be reduced to one lane while the work is being done, VTrans said.