AOT team to use Irene experience to advise in flooding
MONTPELIER - At the request of Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper,
three of the Vermont Agency of Transportation's top staff are
heading to Colorado on Monday to help guide that state's road and
bridge repair in the aftermath of last week's deadly flooding. Gov.
Hickenlooper said his state is on the fast track to rebuild
infrastructure lost in the floods, and asked for Vermont to share
its expertise learned in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Irene to
help Colorado recover better and more quickly.
Gov. Shumlin contacted Vermont AOT Secretary Brian Searles and
Deputy Secretary Sue Minter, who oversaw the immediate and longer
term recovery work following Tropical Storm Irene on Aug. 28, 2011.
The Vermont effort focused on rebuilding roads, bridges and
culverts using techniques to ensure the new infrastructure was
located outside flood zones or reconstructed in a flood-resistant
"Vermont learned tough lessons from Irene, including how to
rebuild quickly and in ways that make it less likely future
flooding will create such catastrophe," Gov. Shumlin said. "Now
Colorado has the same opportunity, unfortunately stemming from
tragedy, to reduce the likelihood that future flooding will lead to
terrible destruction and loss of life."
Minter, Chief Engineer Richard Tetreault, and Scott Rogers,
Director of Operations, are flying to Colorado on Monday morning,
and plan to stay through Thursday evening to help with
organization, strategy and communication. The state of Colorado is
covering the cost of the trip.
Searles said the Colorado flooding is similar to the impact of
Irene, and like Vermont's tropical storm, much damage is located in
mountain areas. Searles said the area affected is about the same
size or larger than Irene's footprint on Vermont.
"We are sending our best to help Colorado DOT get organized for
what will be a monumental task," said Searles. "The similarities to
Irene make our experience valuable to them and we are going without
"We are honored to be able to assist another state in the face of
disaster, and share the lessons we learned in our response and
recovery from Irene," said Minter, who took a leave from AOT last
year to head the temporary Irene Recovery Office. "Many states came
to our aide following Irene and I am happy we can pay it forward
More than 14 inches of rain fell in Colorado last week, hitting
historic flood levels. Weather officials are warning that more
rainfall is forecast. Latest reports indicate that five people have
died, and many are listed as missing.