Gov: Road rebuilt after Irene damaged again

Friday July 5, 2013

GRANVILLE (AP) -- Two years ago, Tropical Storm Irene isolated the Vermont town of Granville when it washed away a main road. Now, flash flooding has damaged rebuilt sections the same street.

"For six weeks we couldn’t head north," Michael Egan said of Irene. His Green Mountains Glassworks business is on Route 100, a main north-south artery through the state that’s popular with tourists. Sections of the road were washed out in August 2011.

Egan, who was blowing martini glasses in his studio Thursday, said he saw a lot of heavy equipment making repairs to the road. "We got major, major downpours," he said.

He hoped that the new repairs won’t be undone by more rain, which was on the way Thursday night. "Super-soaked is what they’re calling the region."

Gov. Peter Shumlin and Transportation Secretary Brian Searles toured the damage Thursday. "We’re looking at areas of road that have turned to riverbed that we rebuilt just two years ago this August," Shumlin said. "So it’s discouraging."

Shumlin said as much as 4 inches of rain fell Wednesday.

Roads also have been damaged in Braintree, Roxbury, Rochester and Huntington.

"When we get three, four, five inches of rain dumped on us in a few hours, we just don’t have the geographical capacity to deal with that much water in our little brooks that run along our main roads, and it wipes us out," Shumlin said.

There were no formal evacuations in this latest rainfall, although Vermont State Police dealt with a report of 15 people trapped on the second floor of a house in Braintree on Wednesday. Water was coming in through the first floor from a nearby river. Rather than try to rescue them, police thought it would be best to wait for the water to recede, which it did. The people were able to talk out of the house Thursday, but some of their vehicles were still stranded as a result of floodwaters.

"The rain has not stopped since Memorial Day," Shumlin said. "We have extensive damage across the state."

Some communities, like Richmond, canceled Fourth of July festivities because of the bad weather. "Sorry to disappoint everyone," the community’s Facebook message said.

The state has activated an emergency operations center in Waterbury.


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