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VA Cutoff Road bridge in Hartford to close to vehicles

  • Corinne Longe, 65, walks across the VA Cutoff Road Bridge in Hartford Village on her daily three-mile loop from her home in White River Junction Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. The Town of Hartford will close the bridge over the White River starting on Thursday Jan. 16, 2020, due to damaged expansion joints. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

  • Concrete has cracked away from an expansion joint on the VA Cutoff Road Bridge over the White River in Hartford Village, Vt., Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2020. Some of the bridge's joints were repaired in December 2018, but the Town of Hartford has given notice that they have been further damaged "due to recent weather fluctuations," and the bridge will be closed beginnning Thursday, Jan. 16. (Valley News - James M. Patterson) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com.

Valley News Staff Writer
Published: 1/14/2020 9:31:30 PM
Modified: 1/14/2020 9:54:00 PM

HARTFORD — Officials are indefinitely closing the VA Cutoff Road bridge starting on Thursday because of damage caused in part by recent weather fluctuations.

The Hartford Department of Public Works, which posted an announcement on Facebook, said the bridge, which carries an average of 3,900 motorists a day, would remain open to pedestrians.

Town Manager Brannon Godfrey said on Tuesday that two expansion joints on the bridge that were replaced last year are no longer holding up.

“These expansion joints are metal and sometimes plow blades will catch them. We’re not sure what caused it this time but there are two of them that are unstable. When you drive over them you get a bump and you get a sense that there’s something loose there,” said Godfrey.

“The risk is not to the structural integrity of the bridge. The risk is that the expansions will pop up and damage a vehicle,” he added.

Hartford had planned on doing a total replacement of the bridge no earlier than the summer of 2023. That project is expected to cost $14.4 million and 95% of the cost will be covered by the Vermont Agency of Transportation and federal funds.

Godfrey plans to meet with AOT officials on Wednesday to figure out how to address the new damage while remaining “cost cognizant of a multi-million dollar bridge repair project coming up in the next three years.”

He expects that details about the detour from the bridge will be available in the next few days.

For now, Godfrey says that people trying to get to Hartford Village should use Hartford Avenue, aka Route 5, in White River Junction to cross the White River, then head north on Route 14.

Some residents said that the closure will be an inconvenience. Erica Sweet is the manager at Jake’s Market and Deli, which is in Hartford Village.

“With such short notice, it’s going to put a damper on our store. It’s a cutoff road,” said Sweet.

She added that she uses the bridge to get to work every morning.

Hartford Village resident Mary Gay, an Army veteran who rides an Advance Transit bus across the bridge to get to the White River Junction VA Medical Center, said she was caught off guard by the announcement and said that the project will also “ruin the town aesthetic.”

Rohan Chakravarty can be reached at rchakravarty@vnews.com or 603-727-3248.




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