Kathy Wilder has been selling Vermont gifts to out-of-state visitors at Haymaker Card and Gift Gallery for more than a decade. And as the years go by, she's watched a problem outside the Morrisville shop get worse.
"We have extremely heavy traffic during school time, noontime and around 4 to 6. Heavy, heavy traffic," she said.
But relief is in sight. In July, a construction crew broke ground on a bypass project that's been brewing since the 1970s.
"It's very rare. It's hard to get a new road built in Vermont," said Bob Suckert of the Vt. Transportation Agency.
A Lydonville-based construction company, Winterset, won the $7.9 million state contract for phase one of the two-part project. Gordy Eastman's team will build a bypass from the Bishop Marshall School off Route 100 to Bridge Street in Morristown. The new road must span the Lamoille Lake, so the crew has designed a 575-foot bridge-- five times longer than what's typical in Vermont.
"So this is a fairly substantial structure. It's a good looking structure, too," Eastman said.
It's called a slant-leg bridge. The supports are on both banks rather than piers in the middle, minimizing the environmental impacts on the waterway.
"We'll work our concrete crews through the winter," Eastman said. "And then be able to set steel in the spring and have an early deck pour and be completed by next fall."
Which means 30 Vermont workers will keep their jobs for another year. Bids for phase two will start this winter, completing the last mile of roadway from Bridge Street to Route 15.
The goal is to get drivers from Route 100 to Route 15 without having to go through Morrisville's congested downtown, but area retailers have mixed reviews about what that will mean for business.
"I think it will make it a whole lot easier for trucks not to come through and clog the traffic," Wilder said. "Other than that, I don't think it will affect us negatively at all."
Hismarian Fitzgerald doesn't worry about keeping her regulars at her salon, Hismarian's Natural Health and Beauty Spa, but she is nervous about how the new road could impact business growth.
"It's trying to get the new tourists or the new person that's just come into town that will be challenging," Fitzgerald said.
The business community is banding together, referring to the new road as a trucking route alternative, rather than a bypass, hoping tourists won't forget about the tiny town.
Saturday, December 7 2013 8:32 AM EST2013-12-07 13:32:27 GMT
If you're lucky, you may have seen a snowy owl in Vermont. Researchers say the birds are traveling even farther south than usual -- some even as far south as North Carolina. We spotted one Friday afternoonMore >>
Researchers say snowy owls are traveling even farther south than usual, and that means more sightings here in Vermont.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 7:51 AM EST2013-12-07 12:51:22 GMT
South Burlington police say a shoplifter tried to hide her drugs by swallowing them at the police station. Police arrested Diana Matt Friday night at the University Mall Kohl's for allegedly stealingMore >>
South Burlington police say a shoplifter tried to hide her drugs by swallowing them at the police station.More >>
Saturday, December 7 2013 7:49 AM EST2013-12-07 12:49:56 GMT
Police in Brattleboro are looking for the driver of a car that hit and killed a pedestrian Friday night. Police say, just after 7 p.m., the car struck the man at Western Avenue and Union Street and thenMore >>
Police in Brattleboro are looking for the driver of a car that hit and killed a pedestrian Friday night.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 11:16 PM EST2013-12-07 04:16:55 GMT
A Connecticut man is charged with DUI after police say he admitted to overdosing on prescribed Ritalin when he was pulled over. The incident happened on Route 105 in Berkshire late Friday afternoon. AuthoritiesMore >>
A Connecticut man is charged with DUI after police say he admitted to overdosing on prescribed Ritalin when he was pulled over.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:03 PM EST2013-12-07 03:03:22 GMT
In Dorset, a car crashed into a bank and there was no drive-through lane.The car jumped the curb in front of the Berkshire Bank Friday morning, taking out a railing and getting hung up on the front steps.More >>
In Dorset, a car crashed into a bank -- and there was no drive-through lane. More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:01 PM EST2013-12-07 03:01:17 GMT
The longtime bookkeeper at Cold Hollow Cider Mill is expected to plead guilty to embezzling from the business and a local youth hockey program.Cold Hollow in Waterbury is one of Vermont's top tourist attractions.More >>
The longtime bookkeeper at Cold Hollow Cider Mill is expected to plead guilty to embezzling from the business and a local youth hockey program.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 10:00 PM EST2013-12-07 03:00:14 GMT
Police in Burlington say they've caught an armed robber.Investigators arrested Tyran Sprauve, 19, Friday afternoon for assault and robbery. Police say last month he and two other men broke into a homeMore >>
Police in Burlington say they've caught an armed robber.More >>
Friday, December 6 2013 9:59 PM EST2013-12-07 02:59:17 GMT
A Claremont, New Hampshire couple is behind bars, charged with sexually assaulting two children under the age of five.Police say 25-year-old Kevin Blood and his 25-year-old wife, Ashley, were arrestedMore >>
A Claremont, New Hampshire couple is behind bars, charged with sexually assaulting two children under the age of five.More >>