When Tropical Storm Irene barreled through Vermont last summer, it took 3,000 miles of Vermont's roads with it.
"It's just amazing, just the amount of damage the water can do," said John Chaplin, a construction worker.
Along Route 107 on the Bethel-Stockbridge line, the traditional busy stretch was no more.
"Of course you can only go six miles down the road and then it's gone-- 107 was totally wiped out," said John Lavoie, a construction worker.
The scene was similar at 682 roads, bridges and culverts all over the Green Mountain State.
"I've never seen anything with devastation like that," Chaplin said. "Trees were piled up everywhere and debris, this whole area was just totally covered with debris."
It took more than 700 VTrans workers to make repairs all over the state. Before they could get this stretch of 107 back open to the public, they had to bring in hundreds of thousands of pounds of rocks.
VTrans pushed to make both permanent and temporary repairs across the state by winter. Now crews are crisscrossing construction projects to assess their progress.
"We have spent the last several months documenting all of the sites, going back and revisiting them, making lists of work that's yet to be done, making sure all the work that is done is permanent and complete," said Tammy Ellis, a district transportation administrator at VTrans.
Current estimates show that roughly 47 percent of the Irene-related VTrans road projects still need work, but Ellis stresses that most of what's left to do is pretty simple.
"It's important to note that the majority of that work is very minor work. For example, some typical things might be going back and placing topsoil over some of the slopes and make sure they are seeded to re-establish vegetation," Ellis said.
The men and women on the front lines of bringing Vermont's roads back from rubble are pleased with the progress that's been made.
"It looks totally different," Chaplin said. "I am amazed at how nice it looks. Like I said, everything was totally washed out."
VTrans hopes to have its remaining repairs complete this fall.
Trees are still in the river. Temporary bridges will take more time. It could be a year before they are replaced.
The construction workers say they are glad to play a part in Vermont's recovery.
Wednesday, May 22 2013 9:45 AM EDT2013-05-22 13:45:46 GMT
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