The town of Waterbury and the state of Vermont want to study a shared idea: that damage to the Waterbury office complex and people's homes during Tropical Storm Irene could have been prevented.
John Grenier sits on the Waterbury Select Board, and as an engineer himself, he's taken a strong interest in studying the bridge. He calls it a choke point, meaning the high land and narrow river create a natural dam near the bridge on Winooski Street that prevents water from accessing its natural flood plain during a storm.
"This stretch of the river caused water to rise here, wash out the road, destroying a house that was behind you and also debris if free was trapped by the bridge," Grenier said.
Several homes on Randall Street, which is adjacent to the Waterbury complex, sustained significant damage from Irene. Engineers say if it weren't for the choke point water might not have even reached this street and it wouldn't have touched the Waterbury complex.
The plan is to study the best option to mitigate flooding. Grenier proposes they dig out the surrounding land allowing the water to pass over it more easily. They've also discussed a more expensive option: raising the bridge itself.
"If you lower the land in the field the water has more room to spread out and doesn't get that deep," Grenier said.
"If they can do that that would reduce the number of floods at the complex. So of course that would benefit us and we'd love to see it," said Dave Burley of the Vt. Department of Buildings and General Services.
Burley says no matter what the study finds, the state is moving forward with a plan to make sure the buildings at the new Waterbury office complex are designed to withstand another Irene. But there's one problem; recent uncertainty regarding FEMA funding may put them back at square one.
"We had settled on modified option B, but because of the funding concerns with FEMA that may or may not happen," Burley said.
Plan B at the Waterbury complex also includes removing land behind the complex to lower the flood plain there, as well. But a project like that is expensive and with funding in question, it's hard to say what flood mitigation strategy will be given the highest priority.
Engineers say it's unrealistic to expect there won't always be some flooding in Waterbury, but this bridge study could significantly change how drastic the flooding is. It could be the difference between a couple of inches and a number of feet of water in people's homes.
Tuesday, December 10 2013 7:45 PM EST2013-12-11 00:45:37 GMT
"Today I am proud to launch Connect Vermont, an initiative to deliver by 2013 my promise of high-speed internet access and cell service to every corner of our state," said Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont,More >>
In a few weeks, Gov. Peter Shumlin will become the second Vermont governor to fall short on a pledge to bring cellphone and high-speed internet access to every Vermonter that wants it. What's the next step to connect the state? More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 8:00 PM EST2013-12-11 01:00:14 GMT
Gov. Peter Shumlin, D-Vermont, has been re-elected as the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. The DGA held its annual meeting in Washington, D.C., Monday, where the governor was uncontestedMore >>
Vt. Gov. Peter Shumlin has been re-elected as the chairman of the Democratic Governors Association.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 7:48 PM EST2013-12-11 00:48:09 GMT
Vermonters who didn't pay ticket prices of up to $10,000 to hear New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie speak during an upcoming visit likely won't get to hear him via the media.More >>
N.J. Gov. Chris Christie will make a stop in Vermont Wednesday to address nearly 700 Republican Party members. The Essex Jct. event is sold out, but there aren't any media outlets on the guest list. Melissa Howell explains why.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 7:51 PM EST2013-12-11 00:51:05 GMT
When Vermont received an F from the Center For Public Integrity for financial disclosure requirements for state Supreme Court justices, it didn't ruffle too many feathers. "We weren't surprised by theMore >>
Vermont was one of many states that received a failing grade for what is required for financial disclosure for state Supreme Court justices. Some civil rights organizations say it's just a small part of an even bigger problem for the state.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 11:41 AM EST2013-12-10 16:41:55 GMT
St. Albans police are on the hunt for an armed robber who targeted a convenience store. Police say at about 9:45 p.m. Monday, a man entered the South Main Grocery and displayed a weapon. He left the storeMore >>
St. Albans police are on the hunt for an armed robber who targeted a convenience store.More >>
Tuesday, December 10 2013 3:28 PM EST2013-12-10 20:28:00 GMT
Fast food and quick cash? Police say a couple targeted McDonald's in Morrisville Monday night. Investigators say David McNab, 25, and Anna Gilchrist, 23, tried to rob the restaurant at about 9 p.m. TheirMore >>
Police say a man and woman face tried to rob the McDonald's in Morrisville Monday night.More >>