It's been one year, but many Vermonters are still trying to bridge the gaps Tropical Storm Irene left behind in their communities. For Dave Lenart of Bethel it's a daily detour.
"It's inconvenient, especially since everything we do is headed in the Bethel direction," Lenart said.
Lenart lives just south of bridge 49 on Old Route 12 in Bethel. His daily reminder of Irene is the drive. He must travel through Barnard to get to the town he lives in. Bridge 49 was structurally destroyed by Irene and will cost nearly $923,000 to repair.
"It's part of our infrastructure and it seems crazy to let it go," Lenart said.
But the cost isn't the problem. The Federal Emergency Management Agency already agreed to pay 90 percent of the repair costs, but the town of Bethel is considering abandoning the bridge anyway.
"I think the town is considering it. I think the town has the responsibility to consider all of the options and then make a decision based on what we think would serve the greatest number of people," said Bill Hall, a member of the Bethel select board.
Over the past year, politicians have compared FEMA to an insurance company. In this case that analogy works well. The town doesn't have to use the FEMA funding to repair that specific bridge, they just have to use it for something that proves it's in the best interest of the public. So the town is exploring its options.
"One would be to replace our highway garage which is in pretty bad shape or perhaps to buy land to design a new Town Hall," Hall said.
They've already held one public hearing on this issue, even Dave Lenart was surprised by the support for the structure.
"Quite a few people showed up and there was a lot of public comment to keep the bridge, a lot more than I thought," Lenart said.
The select board will decide in the coming weeks whether Old Route 12, which was rebuilt after the 1927 flood, will continue to connect the town long after Irene.
The next public hearing is Aug. 13.