Why pave Winooski River Bridge in winter? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Why pave Winooski River Bridge in winter?

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WINOOSKI, Vt. -

Wednesday morning commuters were met with a strange sight for mid-December-- paving crews working on the Winooski River bridge on Interstate 89 well past the end of the construction season.

VTrans says it was responding to complaints from drivers that they were feeling a large jolt when they hit the bridge joints and they were concerned it could be dangerous, especially when the weather is bad. The agency says the bridge joint itself was fine. The pavement was the problem and doing nothing was not an option.

"There was significant pavement deterioration along the two finger joints along the end of the bridge, plus we have some potholing," said Ted Domey, the paving manager.

The steaming new pavement is a Band-Aid approach, designed to let the bridge last until the summer, when it's scheduled as part of a much larger paving project between Richmond and the Burlington area. But there are concerns this quick fix may not last until then.

"Obviously the paving temperatures are less than favorable. We would love to have warmer weather, but this is our last-ditch effort," said David Blackmore of VTrans. "This week the plants are closing and we have to make a decision."

That decision costs about $35,000. There isn't an easy comparison to patching up potholes, which costs about $2,500 each time and ties up traffic for the day. Transportation officials say it was the hassle to drivers that pushed them to try what they hope will be a one-time deal.

"If we can get between now and that paving construction season next year, it will be a success story," Blackmore said.

There are no guarantees. And if this doesn't work, VTrans says it's back to square one-- patching up any holes until the project this summer.

VTrans was not able to pave both lanes completely even. To keep the painted lines, they had to leave those alone, because no paint will stick in these temperatures. That has left shallow grooves in the road.

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