×

Culvert Work Closes Route 5 Near Hartford Recycling Center

  • Workers at the site of a damaged culvert on Route 5 in Hartford, Vt., on Thursday morning, Nov. 8, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Kevin McPhee Sr. of the Vermont Agency of Transportation lets go of a tape measure after recording the length of the culvert that failed under Route 5 in Hartford, Vt. on Nov. 8, 2018. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Vermont Agency of Transportation employees Melvin Darling, left, and Jamie Hodgdon assess a culvert that runs under Route 5 in Hartford, Vt., on Nov. 8, 2018. The road was closed Wednesday night after a section of the culvert failed. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.



Valley News Staff Writer
Thursday, November 08, 2018

White River Junction — State officials estimate Route 5 will be closed just north of the Hartford recycling center for at least four weeks as they replace a damaged culvert.

Trevor Starr, the general manager for the Vermont Agency of Transportation District 4, based in White River Junction, said the road was closed overnight on Wednesday as state crews worked to repair the damage and prevent flooding in the area.

The culvert replacement will take four weeks or longer, Starr said in a phone interview on Thursday afternoon.

“I doubt it will be shorter,” he said.

Starr said the 1930s-era 3-foot culvert, which sits near Rustic and Neal roads, was blocked and unblocked on Wednesday before becoming blocked again overnight, at which point it became unsafe for vehicles. That stretch of Route 5 from the Hartland town line north sees an average of 3,800 vehicles per day, according to the traffic research unit at VTrans.

Starr was unsure what had caused the blockage, but said that this time of year there often is a lot of debris being carried down streams.

Since this culvert is so small, a “root ball of a tree may be all that it takes,” he said.

Starr asked for residents’ patience as he and his crew work to post detour signs and get the culvert replaced as quickly as possible.

“(We’re) just going to have to beg people’s forgiveness,” Starr said.

The road closing came as unwelcome news to Deb Du Plessis, whose family owns two businesses just south of the closed portion of Route 5, Dale’s Homes and the former Pine Crest Motel, now South on Five.

The detour — either via Interstate 91 or Clay Hill Road to Route 4 in Quechee — “adds cost to everything we have to do time-wise,” Du Plessis said.

The detour also is an inconvenience for area residents, such as Du Plessis, who live in the area and are accustomed to being able to make quick trips into White River Junction’s downtown, she said.

“Now (we) have to plan if we’re going to go anywhere,” she said.

While residents are able to access the recycling center from the south, Bob Vahey, the center’s supervisor, said “obviously it’s an inconvenience on the White River Junction side.”

This inconvenience could be difficult for some residents, who have set routines for visiting the recycling center, to weather, Vahey said.

“Trash is a very important thing to get rid of,” he said.

Even so, Vahey said he was resigned to the inconvenience and glad no one had been hurt trying to use the unstable roadway.

“It is what it is,” he said. “Let’s be thankful they found it before it caved in.”

Nora Doyle-Burr can be reached at ndoyleburr@vnews.com or 603-727-3213.