BRATTLEBORO — It’s the summer of “dustcontent” for many people who drive Route 9 every day, with more than 12 miles of road being rehabilitated from the ground up.
“We’re essentially on track,” said Matt Bogaczyk, project manager for the Vermont Agency of Transportation. “It’s going right according to plan.”
The $28 million project includes stripping the pavement from the roadbed and replacing six inches of subsurface along the whole 12.5-mile stretch, he said.
Bogaczyk acknowledged the roadwork has made driving between Brattleboro and Wilmington less than pleasant, especially for folks who use the roadway every day.
“There’s frustration that comes with construction on any road,” he said. “But the benefit here is that it’s basically going to be a brand new roadway.”
Drivers should soon see workers with Pike Industries laying down a first layer of pavement over the rehabilitated subsurface, said Bogaczyk.
While that work is being performed on the first six or so miles of the road, workers will be milling down to the gravel along the second six miles, he said.
“It’s all weather dependent, of course,” he added. “But the first six-mile stretch should start receiving pavement in the next week-and-a-half.”
In total, more than eight inches of new pavement will be layered in three passes, two thick layers of nearly four inches each with one file “wearing” layer of about an inch.
Bogaczyk said the final layer could be applied before the end of this fall or at the beginning of the 2023 construction season, depending on how far along workers are this year.
The original plan called for reducing the length of the climbing lane that terminates just before Marlboro Elementary School, but the entire length will remain, he said. The plan to add a left turn lane from westbound Route 9 to South Road in Marlboro is going ahead, he added.
The state is receiving 86 percent of the cost from the Federal Highway Administration and is responsible for the remaining 14 percent.
Bogaczyk said because the contract was signed last year, he doesn’t expect the state will have to adjust for cost overruns due to inflation.
“Within the contract there are a couple of commodity price adjustments and some fuel price adjustments, but there are contingencies in place when we estimate these projects,” he said.
“Additional work will include the replacement and maintenance of existing guardrail runs, some culvert replacements, [and] ditching and center line rumble strip installations where criteria have been met,” states information from the Vermont Agency of Transportation.
Even though the work is expected to be done by next year at the latest, drivers along a 3.7 mile section between Marlboro and Brattleboro will see more work over the coming years, said Bogaczyk.
“There’s a separate project that’s under development currently. It’s really a resiliency project.”
The state has identified five points along the Whetstone Brook that need attention to protect the investment currently being made into Route 9, he said, and is in response to lessons learned from Tropical Storm Irene, which damaged major sections of the road in 2011.
“So if and when we get another huge storm, that project is trying to minimize or alleviate any type of of washout issues that could occur,” said Bogaczyk
The mitigation measures under consideration include construction of flood benches to increase flood storage and reduce flood velocities; repairing and reinforcing road embankments where past armoring is failing; removing berms that currently channel flood waters towards the road and increase the risk of road failure from erosion; restoring connectivity to the floodplain by removing sediment bars that prevent flood waters from accessing the floodplain; and restoring flood chutes to divert flood waters away from the road.
The five sites identified include where the brook bends around the parking lot at Marlboro Collision and Towing, near the Marlboro-Brattleboro town line, immediately downstream of Stark Road, across from John McKay’s used car dealership, and just upstream of and under Bridge 51 where the Whetstone Brook passes under Route 9.