On August 2, 2023

East Mountain Road still inaccessible after flood

 

By Curt Peterson

Anyone wanting to travel East Mountain Road between Bear Mountain Road and Route 4 (where it connects just east of the Skyeship gondola) in Killington should change plans, Killington town officials said at a recent meeting. That portion of road is still inaccessible.

East Mountain Road is accessible now from the top of Killington Road to Bear Mountain Road, but access is being limited.

“The road is open for access by local traffic only,” Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth said. “The only [other] exception is for contractors who are doing flood repair work.”

The Select Board held a public flood repair status update on Friday, July 28, to announce progress as well as updates on those areas that remain a ‘work in progress.’

Currently, town repairs are still on an “emergency basis,”  according to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) regulations. FEMA inspectors are surveying the damage to infrastructure, and will determine when “permanent” reconstruction can begin. Permanent repair projects estimated to cost under $250,000 will require a bidding process — those costing more than $250,000 will need to be bid through a state program that includes a list of approved contractors.

Right now, the road repair goal is to make it wide enough for two emergency vehicles to pass each other.

Materials costs are going to be immense, Hagenbarth said.

“As of tonight, we have spent over $300,000 for aggregate fill,” he said. “There’s been a steady parade of trucks bringing in material.”

Select Board member Jim Haff said the town has purchased six “No Shoulders Ahead” signs for warning drivers about road conditions.  “Some roads are passable, but not totally safe,” Haff said. “People definitely shouldn’t drive the affected roads at night.”

Haff hopes people heed the town’s warning about safety. He said short-term rental agents and owners should be warning tenants they may not be able to reach their units. Travel in the East Mountain Road area is for necessity only, he said, telling the Mountain Times he had received calls from companies that wanted to “fill hot tubs for their customers.”

The town has told them ‘no.’ “This is serious,” Haff said. “The town has been working hard to open it enough for people to get to their properties, that’s the best we can do. Any non-essential traffic on those roads need to wait.”

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