Route 4 reopens, vital east-west link in Vermont

first_imgVermont Governor Peter Shumlin today joined hundreds of Rutland County residents in Killington to celebrate the opening of Route 4, a critical east-west roadway that until today was closed to through traffic due to damage from Tropical Storm Irene.Route 4 between Rutland and Killington on August 29, 2011. Photo courtesy Steve Costello, CVPS.Governor Shumlin was joined by Vermont Agency of Transportation Secretary Brian Searles and Department of Tourism and Marketing Commissioner Megan Smith to celebrate the pride everyone has that road crews repaired Route 4’s severe damage in just 19 days, and to spread the message that Vermont has recovered significantly, and just in time for foliage season.In less than three weeks since the storm struck on August 28, the Vermont Agency of Transportation has opened four major east-west travel corridors. In addition to Route 4 between Rutland and Woodstock, Route 103 between Rockingham and Rutland, Route 11 between Chester and Manchester, and Route 9 between Bennington and Brattleboro are now open in their entirety.”Opening the state’s critical east-west travel corridors allows most Vermonters the mobility they need for everyday tasks like visiting their doctor, commuting to work and attending school,” Governor Shumlin said. “The increased mobility also provides a lifeline for Vermont businesses, and the timing could not be better. With the start of foliage season upon us, Vermont’s guests and visitors can now navigate most state regions with only a few exceptions.”Route 4 between Rutland and Bridgewater was damaged in several locations, including five places between Mendon and Killington where flooding from Mendon Brook created major roadway craters. In two locations, all three lanes of Route 4 were missing. In other locations, two lanes were missing with sheer slope drops as high as 70 to 80 feet.Portions of the roadway were also completely washed away in Killington around River Road where today’s celebration was held, and there was damage in several other locations along “Killington Flats” and the rest of Route 4 stretching east to Woodstock.While roads like Route 4 that were once closed following Irene are now open, many still contain construction crews and have gravel sections, so motorists are encouraged to focus on safety and drive with caution.”Travelers have to understand that open does not mean back to normal in some areas,” Secretary Searles said. “Some of our most badly damaged areas are still recovering, and the roads in these areas remain closed to all but local residents. Even roads that are open, like Route 4 and Route 9, still have construction crews making repairs, as well as segments of gravel where there used to be pavement.”Driving a little slower actually lends itself well to the spirit of foliage season, where leisurely drives and taking in Vermont’s breathtaking beauty is the prime directive.”Driving may be a little slower in some areas, but in most cases you can now get there from here,” Commissioner Smith said. “And when you arrive, Vermont’s well-known hospitality will be waiting to greet you.”For up-to-date information on storm-related openings and closings, the public can call the Irene recovery call center at 1-800-VERMONT or go to the Agency’s homepage at www.aot.state.vt.us(link is external) where they can sign up for alerts pushed to their mobile phone. You can also follow VTrans’ recovery efforts on both Facebook and Twitter.Restoring the critical east-west travel corridor between the resort community of Killington and all points to the east and west will come just in time for the kick-off of the fall foliage touring season. The opening could not come soon enough for the many inns, restaurants and other businesses in the resort town that have been essentially cut off from their main commerce route since flooding from Tropical Storm Irene destroyed the roads leading into and out of town. Although recovery efforts caused some events to be postponed until next year, an abbreviated Hay Festival encompassing two major events will go on as planned. Killington Brewfest Weekend will take place September 30 through October 1, and the DockDogs National Championships will go on as scheduled October 7 to 9.  The resort community is also planning a townwide ‘Welcome Back’ celebration on October 1.   ‘Killington is open for business, and we’re eager to welcome back visitors, neighbors and friends during this exceptionally beautiful time of year,’ says Seth Webb, Director of Economic Development and Tourism for the Town.  ‘Coming up to Killington, supporting our shops, inns and restaurants this fall and winter is the best thing people can do to help us get back on track.’  The Killington Brewfest kicks off on Friday September 30 with a Vermont Brewmasters Dinner from 7 to 9pm followed by a Brewfest Kickoff Party, all at the Wobbly Barn.  On Saturday, October 1 the Brewfest takes place from 1 to 6 pm at the Snowshed Lodge at the Killington Resort, featuring live music, food offerings and over 75 of the finest craft beers from throughout the region. DockDogs, as seen on ABC, ESPN, and the Outdoor Channel, feature distance jumping and retrieving competitions from the world’s best canine athletes. The 2011 DockDogs® National Championships, scheduled for October 7-9 at the Snowshed Base Area, is expected to bring in over 300 of the most experienced teams from all parts of the country — and their fans — to compete for the national title. Along with the breathtaking displays of fall color, visitors to Killington can also expect to see 30 of the town’s giant hay sculptures that make up the Grass Menagerie, the central element of the Killington Hay Festival.  The Killington Hay Festival continues through Columbus Day Weekend, featuring an ongoing scavenger hunt and a hay maze at the Gristmill Restaurant.  For more information on the Killington Hay Festival, contact Suzie Dundas at (802) 422-2185, or suziedundas@killingtontown.com(link sends e-mail).last_img

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