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Quechee covered bridge hit by Irene reopens - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Quechee covered bridge hit by Irene reopens

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QUECHEE, Vt. -

Traffic is once again moving back and forth across the covered bridge in Quechee. Tropical Storm Irene walloped the span, cutting off a main route to the village for a year and four months.

"Very seldom did we head west for some reason. The bridge was out. We would have to go out to Dewey Pond and come in that way. It's just six minutes, I guess, difference, but it made a difference to us going west or just going east all the time," said Frank Medora of Quechee.

And it wasn't just commuters who were affected. Less traffic meant less business for area stores.

"There was the perception that we may or may not have been open. And, of course, we had been. We were only down for just a few days after Irene," said Andy Archie of Simon Pearce.

The New Year's holiday means big business for Simon Pearce. And now that the bridge is back open, shoppers have more time to spend money without the hassle of added minutes on the road.

"It was inconvenient to say the least," Archie said. "Having the bridge open literally for the locals and just being able to walk over to the bank or to the restaurants and having that open just for all the traffic coming off Highway 4 is just fantastic."

"There are so many people that I knew that wouldn't come over to this side just because the bridge was closed and I know they lost one or two businesses down on the green that we really enjoyed and hopefully they will come back if we get some more business around here," Medora said.

Back in March, voters approved a $1.1 million bond to repair the structure. But those who are connected to the span say the fact that it has reopened, is hard to put a price tag on.

A community celebration is being planned for this June once construction on the covered bridge is complete.

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