Opening the Jamaica bridge means Route 100 is now open in its entirety for the first time since Irene struck on August 28, while opening the Rochester bridge allows residents who for seven weeks have been using a foot bridge to access Route 100 to use a motor vehicle instead.
“Reopening these two bridge locations eliminates lengthy detours and will help residents in these hard hit areas return to normal,” said VTrans Secretary Brian Searles. “We now have restored traffic over all but three damaged bridge locations, and those we will reopen before winter.”
When Irene collapsed the bridge at the intersection of Route 73 and Route 100, the storm cut off dozens of Rochester residents living along Route 73 from accessing Route 100 by vehicle unless they took a nearly hour-long detour. To access Route 100, residents for the past seven weeks have used the combination of a pedestrian bridge and two makeshift parking lots – one on either side of the White River – to get to and from their homes and workplaces.
While the Rochester bridge is now open and residents will no longer need the foot bridge, Route 73 remains closed to all but local residents and emergency vehicles. Work on the road is ongoing, and is expected to continue into November.
In Jamaica, Irene knocked out four state bridges. Three of these locations were reopened earlier, leaving the temporary bridge along Route 100 as the final location. The new span restores travel between Jamaica and Wardsboro, and eliminates a detour along local roads that took about 20 minutes.
Eliminating the Jamaica-to-Wardsboro detour means all 216 miles of Route 100 are now open to public travel for the first time since Irene hit on August 28. Travelers using Route 100 need to drive with caution, however, as several stretches – including several miles in the Wardsboro area – contain gravel sections and are still under construction.
Other areas along Route 100 that remain under construction include sections through Granville, Hancock, Rochester, Plymouth, Tyson, Stockbridge, Pittsfield, and Readsboro among others. These locations are open to public travel, but motorists using these areas should expect delays and leave additional time to reach their destination.
Opening temporary spans in both Rochester and Jamaica leaves just three state bridge locations severed as a result of Irene. One bridge remains closed in along Route 12 in Barnard, while two bridges remain closed along Route 12A in Roxbury. A temporary bridge is being erected in Barnard, while rapid construction of new permanent bridges will be used to replace the spans in Roxbury.