A Vermont town is one step closer to improving its flood-stricken infrastructure.
Thanks to a new study conducted by Milone and MacBroom consulting firm, Plainfield looks to replace two high traffic bridges before the next major flood hits.
The Great Brook bridge in Plainfield is a popular commuter connecter.
But 6 months ago, it was a different story. In July debris jams and rushing water tore through the town.
“We’re seeing 100 year events every five years and it’s costing us tens of thousands of dollars,” says Plainfield Selectboard Chairman Bram Towbin.
Towbin says after floods the town had to resurface and fill in cracks, band-aid fixes costing the town a hefty sum.
“The 2011 event cost $120,000 and this past summer’s event cost $26,000 to $28,000 and you keep on spending that kind of money you really need to address the problem involved.”
Now the town plans to replace the Great Brook and Mill Street Bridge after the newly commissioned study says the two bridges are severely undersized.
For many nearby residents, a full replacement is long overdue.
“In 2011 when we came out the river it was already starting to wash around in front of our house, and I believe the bridge was already plugged up at the time,” says Dan Gadd.
In fact the study recommends the Great Brook replacement bridge be 75 percent wider.
“It’s one thing for a person like myself to say its small, it is quite another when credentialed people and engineer say it’s a problem,” say Towbin.
He says replacing both bridges can cost around $1.6 million. With the study, the town can now apply for state and federal funds and it already has $17, 000 set aside to match.
“Our match might be between 10 and 20 percent,” says Towbin.
The town’s select board chair says there will be a vote on Town Meeting Day to have a dedicated fund to set aside money for the project.