Governor calls on Congress to fully support federal Highway Trust Fund
Coming off an all-night flood watch across the state that closed bridges and roadways, Gov. Peter Shumlin today thanked Vermont’s state and local emergency and transportation crews for another difficult shift protecting Vermonters from a powerful weather event.
In addition, the Governor warned that while flood waters are receding today in most regions, the water level on Lake Champlain will continue to rise in the coming days and weeks.
“Our local and state law enforcement, search and rescue crews, transportation teams and so many others have been working around the clock to notify people in vulnerable areas of the danger, help them locate and reach safety, and then clean up and begin emergency repairs in the wake of the storm,” Gov. Shumlin said, standing with emergency and transportation officials in the state Emergency Operations Center in Waterbury.
The Governor noted the pressure the state’s Agency of Transportation (AOT) has been under this year, forced to deal with a long, harsh winter season that required significant road clearing, and now repair of the damage created by frost heaves and winter buckling, in addition to this spring flooding.
Gov. Shumlin and AOT Deputy Secretary Sue Minter released a letter today to Congressional leaders calling for full funding of the Highway Trust Fund, noting that while this money helps keep states’ transportation networks safe for the traveling public, it also leads to the job creation that is enabling states like Vermont continue to pull out of the recent recession.
“Every $1 million of transportation funding supports 35 jobs in Vermont, through the construction and maintenance of our transportation infrastructure,” the Governor wrote to House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. “Federal transportation funds therefore help keep employed thousands of hard working Vermonters. Well maintained roads and bridges literally carry Vermont’s world famous products to market and drive tourists from all over the world to our small towns, big mountains and scenic lakes.”
The Governor said Vermont’s Congressional Delegation has worked hard to secure full funding of the Trust Fund. “I appreciate the hard work of Sens. Leahy and Sanders and Rep. Welch in fighting for these critical funds,” he said. “This money is an imperative for Vermont.”
“Without a resolution to this fiscal dilemma Vermont will not be able to fund much-needed road, bridge, rail and transit programs that are critical every year but especially this year following a particularly harsh winter,” the Governor wrote to Boehner and Reid. “At a time when we’re working hard to create jobs and grow economic opportunity, prompt Congressional action is critical.”
“Our VTrans crews once again showed their dedication by working around the clock to protect safe travel on our roads through both flooding and snow,” said Sue Minter, Deputy Secretary of AOT. “This sort of critical public service is exactly why we need Congress to get the message that funding for transportation is essential both to ensure safety on our roadways, and to keep our economy moving.”
This latest flooding has added pressure to the AOT budget, keeping crews working 24-7 to handle trouble spots statewide. Although ice jams have melted, AOT crews were worried about debris posing threats to culverts, bridges and other structures, as well.
Numerous roads around the state were closed due to high water (see list below; roads are reopening now, for latest closures visit http://vtransmaps.vermont.gov/VTrans511/511listing.asp), and several families were evacuated. The Red Cross sheltered four families in the Barton and Leicester area in a motel for the night, and a local shelter in Lyndonville housed six people.
State and local emergency personnel said flooding along the shores of Lake Champlain will be minor to moderate, but it will affect those closest to its shores. Property owners are encouraged to prepare now for possible high water to mitigate damages to homes and other property.
• Move objects like lawn or beach furniture, children’s toys, and other things that can float away to higher ground. Objects like those can pollute the lake and create hazards to boaters.
• Anchor fuel tanks – particularly if your home is close to the lake and likely to be flooded.
• If your home is flooded and you need to evacuate, turn off the electricity in your home and have a professional inspect the electrical system before you return.
State Road Closures Over the Course of the Storm (many have or are reopening):
Rt 15 will be closed due to flooding at the wrong way bridge in Cambridge.
Maidstone State Highway VT 14, MM 1.1
RT 109 from RT 108 to Waterville is Closed for flooding.
Rt 122 at intersection of 114 and US 5 Lyndon is now Closed due to flooding.
RT 118 Berkshire near jct. of RT 105 Closed for flooding.
Evening Folks, route 242 is closed, the squash pipe has failed to center line. Road closed signs are being put out and someone will be posted.
Rt 105 between Berkshire and Richford closed due flooding
RT 100 Lowell, RT 5 St J Center and RT 128 Essex all closed in usual spots along with RT 14 in So. Randolph.
RT 110 in Tunbridge Closed due to flooding, this should be short. Rt 105 Sheldon between RT 236 and Rt 120 Closed for flooding
RT 100 Closed in Troy now for flooding, but open again in Lowell.
Route 102 in Lemington about a mile north of the Columbia Bridge. Closed due to high water.
Local Road Closures
Belvidere: VT-109 at Lost Meadow Road Belvidere - culvert has washed out
Brandon: Wheeler road between Stone Mill Dam Rd and Route 73 - closed
Brookfield: Macredey Rd – closed
Brunswick: VT-102 just north of Maidstone Lake Access Rd - closed
Cambridge: VT-108 at the Wrongway Bridge - closed;
Williamson Road at Bryce – closed; Pumpkin Harbor Rd. - closed
Charlotte: Greenbush Road at the railroad over pass – closed
Chelsea: VT-110 in Chelsea Village - closed
Corinth: Brook Rd at the junction of Cookeville Rd - closed
Coventry: Main St - closed
Duxbury: Crossett Hill Rd. – closed; Mountain View Rd and Scrabble Hill Rd. - down to 1 lane; Heart Rd at River Rd - down to 1 lane
Eden: Blakeville Road at Cooper Hill Road – has water running over it; VT-100 near Boy Scout Camp – has water going over the roadway and is down to one lane
Essex: VT-128 between two bridges - closed
Enosburg: VT-105 Smith Flats Rd - closed
Jay: VT-242 between Jay Village and VT-100 - closed
Jericho: Governor Peck Road, flat area before bad curve 2/3 way up from VT-117 – has water running over it, down to one lane; 150 Browns Trace Road Jericho – has water running over it
Lowell: VT-100 in south of Buckhill and north of Carter Rd - closed
Lyndon: US-5 and VT VT-122 - closed; VT-114/Stevens Loop and Pudding Hill - closed; Park St & Center St - closed; Red Village Rd. - closed
Randolph: VT-14 near the Brickyard Farm is closed
Richford: VT-118 by Woodward Neighborhood Rd - closed
Richmond: Bridge St. - closed
St. Johnsbury: US-2 at Severance Hill Rd St down to one lane; 1320 US-5 Closed just north of Hospital Dr. Traffic detoured to Depot Hill.
Sheldon: VT-105 water over the road; VT-2 Jonesville water over road
Troy: RT 100 - Closed
Underhill: Dumas Road - has water running over it; Poker Hill Road at North Underhill Station Road – closed
Victory: Victory Hill Rd, Masten Rd and River Rd in Victory are closed
West Topsham: VT-25 at Kimball Hill - closed
Williston: North Williston Road is closed due to flooding
The public can receive weather updates through VT Alert. You can sign up for a free account at http://vtalert.gov and click on the link on the left.
Flood gauges: http://water.weather.gov/ahps2/index.php?wfobtv
National Weather Service Albany (Forecast office for Bennington and Windham counties): http://www.weather.gov/aly/
National Weather Service Burlington (Rest of Vermont): http://www.weather.gov/btv/
Road conditions: www.511vt.com
VT DEMHS on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/vermontemergencymanagement
VT DEMHS on Twitter: @vemvt … https://twitter.com/vemvt
Vermont 511 on Twitter: @511vt … https://twitter.com/511VT
VTrans on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/VTrans/143848835653728
Vermont State Police on Twitter: @VTStatePolice … https://twitter.com/VTStatePolice
Vermont State Police on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VermontStatePolice
NWS Burlington: https://www.facebook.com/US.NationalWeatherService.Burlington.gov on Facebook or @NWSBurlington on Twitter
NWS Albany: https://www.facebook.com/US.NationalWeatherService.Albany.gov on Facebook or @NWSAlbany on Twitter
Resource needs: 2-1-1
Contact: Susan Allen, Office of the Governor, 802-279-8493; Mark Bosma, VT Department of Public Safety, 802-839-6717; Sue Minter, Agency of Transportation, 828-2657