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Mud season arrives on Vermont’s back roads

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 4:06 PM EDT|Updated: Mar. 21, 2022 at 8:09 PM EDT
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ROXBURY, Vt. (WCAX) - Roxbury is like many small towns in Vermont. There’s a paved road in the village but you don’t have to go far to find some dirt or-- this time of year-- mud.

“Yup, we’ll see if we get stuck,” Roxbury Road Foreman Laren Bent said, taking me for a spin. “Actually, it’s a little greasy.”

Of 37 miles in town, only one mile is blacktop.

“I’ve gotten stuck with the town pickup before,” Bent said.

It’s the time of year when Bent and his crew “get the dirt” on what people think about their roads.

“We may not hear from anybody... through a winter storm,” Bent said. “But through mud season, the fifth season, you will hear.”

Bent says they are doing the best they can to keep the roads maintained.

“Another thing that I worry about, if somebody has a house fire up or somebody needs an ambulance, we have elderly people who live out here you know. It’s concerning to me,” Bent said.

Back on the pavement, the Roxbury Store is the unofficial town hall where the people air their opinions. Randy Whitney is the longtime owner.

“Judy lives on a back road. She knows,” Whitney said.

Judy Lusk has lived in town for more than four decades.

“I would say this year is worse than recent years that we’ve had,” Lusk said.

“Locals understand it, know how to drive it and usually don’t have a problem,” Whitney said.

But it’s not just locals who stop by the store. Just around the corner, the Warren Mountain Road is the busiest dirt road in town.

“The big one, ‘Is the mountain passable?’ ‘Are these roads passable?’ And then, ‘Why isn’t it fixed so we can pass it?’” Whitney said.

This is the shortcut to get over to the Mad River Valley. On a given day, hundreds of cars will make this trek.

Bent says this road is in much better shape than in years past.

“So far!” he said.

Two state grants tamed the mountain road with new culverts to better drain the water. But still, drivers dodge deep dips.

But not to worry-- like all seasons, this one will pass.

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