Crews work to repair flood-ravaged roads in southern Vermont

Published: Jul. 19, 2021 at 5:20 PM EDT
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BRATTLEBORO, Vt. (WCAX) - Weekend rain ripped up roads in Brattleboro. Some residents reported as much as 5 inches and that water wreaked havoc on roads throughout the community.

“It was a tremendous amount of rain,” Brattleboro Public Works Director Steve Barrett said.

Two days after the storm, the water continued to rush in a Brattleboro brook where a car remained stuck. Road crews say the two people riding in it got out in the nick of time.

“They got stuck in what appeared to be a pothole. The two occupants escaped from the vehicles and then the roadway completely gave away,” Barrett said.

Up the Melchen Road in West Brattleboro, where the majority of the damage was located, there were more blown-out culverts. Residents describe the rain starting like the flick of a switch.

“We look outside and almost instantaneously, water starts rushing down the hillside,” said Sean Ashcraft, the director of Camp Waubanong.

The summer camp had to postpone their campers’ Sunday arrival until the road to the overnight camp was passable.

“The trenches were so deep and the damage was so extensive, we thought we were going to be alone here for a week with our food store,” Ashcraft said.

Down the hill, yards were flooded. The owner of one home said the deluge was similar to Tropical Storm Irene 10 years ago, though not quite as bad.

“The police department called up here to see if I was alright, and I said, ‘Yeah, I’m alright, as long as the water don’t get up to my bed I will be alright,’” Bernard Nolin said.

Most of the roads are now passable. Town officials say a lot of the damage was caused because of aging infrastructure.

“A lot of the size for culverts and such are undersized and older,” Barrett said.

Town officials are still assessing the total damage to the roads in this community. However, they say the early estimate for one culvert alone, is over $200,000.

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