Danville celebrates end of construction - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Danville celebrates end of construction

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DANVILLE, Vt. - Some called it 'The Danville Debacle' -- a road project through town that took a year longer than expected and cost millions more than anticipated. After three years, construction on Route 2 is finally complete, and locals are celebrating.

Crawling traffic and ripped up roads was dominant view of downtown Danville for what locals say felt like forever.

"There was a lot of aggravation with the townspeople," said St. Johnsbury's Maurice Pepin. "Sometimes you'd go right through -- no problem -- and other times if you happen to hit it just right, you may wait 10 minutes to a half-hour I've heard of."

After three years of construction, the Route 2 project is finally complete. The improvements stretch from the Danville school to Marty's Store, and ended up costing $13.7 million -- more than double original estimates. The upgrades include widening the road, adding sidewalks, parking, street lights, and revamping the town green.

"I think it looks fantastic. I think the lighting, the signs -- the art council did some really pretty work in here. It just looks tidy and it's a great place to have events here on our green, so it really brings a lot to the town," said Diane Chadderdon, a local resident.

On Sunday dozens gathered to celebrate the final product. But the years of standstill traffic took a hit on local businesses according to the Danville Chamber of Commerce.

"Several of the stores in town were not able to get people in and out," said Chamber President Eric Bach.  "If you're driving through town and you've been waiting in line for 20 minutes in traffic, you really had to decide -- do I dare get off, stop, buy something, and try to get back into this line, because I may have to wait another 20 minutes?"
Ninety-five percent of the project was federally funded. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) said the highway improvements are crucial for transportation in the Northeast Kingdom.
"We want people to come here, and not just the people who live here, but we want people to come from out of here. We live in a very special state and we want others to enjoy it.." Leahy said.

"As Vermont both grows jobs, grows economic opportunities, and continues to evolve -- our challenge is to ensure that we are the state that has the transportation infrastructure that feeds those jobs," said Gov. Peter Shumlin (D-Vermont).

And while everyone traveling Route 2 will get to enjoy these improvements, those who lived through the construction are happy to celebrate the end. "Well it was really busy and it was trying at times, but I think the town is really looking great, and everyone is glad that we did it and it looks fantastic here," said Chadderdon said.

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