Construction Projects

Route 9 W-Bridge #31 Replacement

Thank you for taking the time to set up a meeting to discuss the various alternatives for the upcoming project for Bridge 31 on VT Route 9 in Wilmington.  I found this meeting to be very productive and beneficial to the scoping process.  Overall, it seemed like the community was in favor of a shorter construction duration to limit the impacts to downtown businesses.  Please find below a summary of the issues brought up at the meeting for consideration in scoping:

  • Hydraulics: Hydraulics is a major concern to the Town since the area has been prone to flooding in the past.  The existing eastern abutment jets out and constricts the channel.  As part of the project, we plan to move the abutment back so that it is in line with the channel for improved hydraulics.  As discussed, we may also put in a smooth superstructure to prevent trees and debris from getting caught up on the beams.
  • Bridge Width: The current typical section includes two 11-foot travel lanes with 4-foot shoulders and 5-foot sidewalks on both sides of the bridge.  While this meets the minimum standard for width, there are concerns about congestion as well as turning radii for trucks.  As part of the scoping process, we will evaluate if an additional turning lane could be added for capacity.  We will also closely consider turning movements and bridge width to find the best solution.
  • Critical Inspection Finding: There was a critical finding during the last scheduled bridge inspection, and a steel plate will be installed later this month.  This work is expected to occur the third week of June and is going to require a lane closure for an approximate 10-hour duration.
  • Pedestrian Accommodations During Construction: The need for pedestrian accommodations during construction was stressed by many meeting participants.  There was a suggestion to construct a pedestrian bridge from the park to the Craft’s Inn side of the road.  A meeting participant stressed that maintaining pedestrian traffic will be crucial to keeping the downtown businesses alive.  We will evaluate a temporary pedestrian bridge as part of the scoping process.  As discussed, we could potentially get into permitting issues with pedestrian bridge impacts that affect the 4(f) park area.
  • Maintenance of Traffic (MOT) During Construction: During the meeting, we discussed the various options for traffic control during construction.  Regardless of the MOT method chosen, trucks will need to get rerouted onto a separate truck route.  The Town noted that we will need to think about the trucks that service the businesses surrounding the bridge, and how they would make deliveries and then turn around.  This will be considered further during the scoping and design phases of the project.
    • Bridge Closure: The first option would involve a full closure with no temporary bridge constructed.  A closure would be paired with accelerated construction methods such as precast/prefabricated bridge elements and 24-hour construction.
    • Offsite Temporary Bridge: The next option would be to construct a temporary bridge offsite.  There were two options for location discussed during the meeting.  The first location would detour traffic through the parking lot behind the downtown businesses.  Concern was raised about the impacts to the parking lot during construction.  As discussed, a lot of fill material would need to be added and there would be a significant loss of parking spaces.  Concern was also raised about the Right-of-Way process as the lot is owned by several entities.  The second temporary bridge location discussed utilizes South Main Street to Shafter Street.  A member of the community inquired about the condition of the bridge located at The Castle Hill Road and Shafter Street intersection.  That structure, Bridge No. 17 is currently in satisfactory to good condition.  It was noted that a big loop around the downtown area would be detrimental to downtown businesses.  If a temporary bridge was constructed, either conventional construction or accelerated bridge construction could be used.
    • Phased Construction: Phased construction would involve 1 lane of 2-way alternating traffic with a traffic signal.  Phased construction could last more than one construction season, and based on the traffic volumes, would result in significant delays.
  • Construction Duration: As discussed, the project may utilize conventional construction methods or accelerated methods with precast bridge components.  Depending on the methods selected, construction could last 2 construction seasons, or could be reduced to several weekend closures with precast bridge elements, or any duration in between.  Weekend closures and accelerated construction would likely allow for 24-hour construction with nighttime work.  If nighttime work is allowed, then adequate lighting would be installed.  Additionally, there are maximum decibel levels written in the contract for nighttime work, so the contractor is limited by the activities they can perform. We will evaluate all of the options and come prepared to discuss durations in more detail during an alternatives presentation meeting this fall/winter.  Typically, the shorter the duration of impact, the more expensive the project gets, so we will need to find a balanced solution that meets both the needs of the project and the community.
  • Right-of-Way: There was also discussion about the Right-of-Way Process.  Once construction limits are determined (early on in the design phase), property owner meetings will be set up to discuss impacts with each property owner.  The VTrans Right-of-Way section would then appraise each of the parcels affected and offer compensation and proceed with negotiations.  If an agreement cannot be reached with the property owners, then we would start the condemnation process.
  • Utilities: The aerial and underground utility relocations are going to be a significant effort.  The Town should expect traffic impacts, likely the season before construction, while utilities are relocated.  We will discuss this further during the alternative’s presentation meeting and during the project design phase.
  • Discussion about Municipal Utilities: The Town owns water and sewer infrastructure within the highway Right-of-Way.  The existing 12-inch DI water main suspended under the bridge and will likely require relocation.  The relocation of municipal utilities that are located within the State-owned Right-of-Way will not be a participating cost, so it will be up to the Town to hire a consultant for design and pay for the relocation, if needed.
  • Construction Year: As discussed at the meeting, the project is currently in the budget for construction in the summer of 2029.

The presentation has been uploaded to our VTrans projects page:

Once the scoping process is complete, we will reach out to the Town for an alternatives presentation meeting that will go over the alternatives in greater detail.   We expect to be reaching out to you again this fall/winter to distribute a draft scoping report and schedule the alternatives presentation meeting.