The River Street bridge closed for repairs after all, but state officials said work there should be done Tuesday.
Resurfacing of the notoriously choppy crossing from River Street to Madison Street took place Friday, and Vermont Agency of Transportation spokesman Nick Cartularo said that workers were installing plug joints — devices that act like shock absorbers when heavy loads cross the bridge. The bridge was closed for at least part of Monday morning despite an AOT official saying in May that they did not expect that to be necessary, but Cartularo said Monday afternoon that at least one lane should remain open while contractors put on the finishing touches.
Cartularo said the work was originally slated for July, but was held up by a delay in getting materials. It is still expected to be done well ahead of the required completion date of Sept. 6.
The bridge and a connecting stretch of River Street are considered among the worst sections of road in the city, according to Rep. Mary Howard, D-Rutland, who helped move the project through the Legislature. Rutland Public Works Commissioner Jeffrey Wennberg said the top layer of River Street was replaced in concert with the bridge work by the same contractor on behalf of the city.
“It’s one continuous seam between what the state’s paying for and what we’re paying for,” Wennberg said.
Wennberg said work is complete on the simplest portions of the more than 2 miles worth of paving planned for this summer, leaving the sections of roads that need to be reclaimed still to do. Reclaiming involves digging up roads to a 10-inch depth and replacing both fill and the 3-inch surface.
He said none of those had been scheduled as of Monday afternoon, but that drivers in the near future will want to avoid Marble, Coolidge and Dana avenues as well as Church and Granger streets.
“The whole bad section of Grove on the south end,” is also up for reclamation, Wennberg said, but “not the bad section on the north end.”
Wennberg has said that the city’s annual paving budget is only half what is needed to just keep up with the annual degradation of the city’s 77 miles of streets, much less catch up. Mayor David Allaire said he is exploring a bond issue for the March ballot to accelerate the paving schedule.