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Paving project slows traffic in Bethel-Stockbridge area - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Paving project slows traffic in Bethel-Stockbridge area

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STOCKBRIDGE, Vt. -

Traffic is at a standstill on Route 107 in Stockbridge.

"It is a little frustrating," Blanche Rea said.

Rea, who lives in Barnard, commutes here often. Lately the construction has added significant delays to her day.

"At least a half-hour," she said.

A 10-mile stretch of the road is getting a complete overhaul. It's down to dirt in both directions with stops for one-lane traffic in multiple places.

"We are going on a little vacation and we've been delayed," said Jennifer Hoffman of Cornwall.

Hoffman has a carful of kids who need to use the nearest facilities.

"I have a 5-year-old and two 14-year-olds, so that is our crisis," she said.

The project has been on the state's to-do list for several years now. Work started in July.

"Hopefully we keep people not waiting more than 10 minutes. Sometimes when we do some blasting, it holds them up a little longer. But for the most part we try to get through as fast as possible," said Chris Barker of VTrans.

The roadwork was supposed to take place a couple of years ago, but Tropical Storm Irene delayed it. Huge stretches of the road were washed away and had to be rebuilt immediately. For local business owners, the nearby construction is an all too familiar reminder of Irene.

"We were on a dead end at that time and it is bring back a lot of deja vu," said Ginger Boardman of the Creek House Diner.

Boardman says the current reconstruction project-- like Irene-- is keeping customers away.

"It certainly isn't helping business and you got the dust and everything else," Boardman said. "And people have told me if they can find an alternate route they will take it. And the numbers have gone down."

It's an $11.5 million project that is supposed to take two years. But VTrans officials say they hope to have the majority of the work done by the end of this construction season. A silver lining for commuters and businesses that can look forward to smooth sailing once the project is complete.

VTrans officials say paving is scheduled to begin shortly and that is expected to speed up the commute. Those one-lane stops will still be needed in some places.

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