Covered Bridge & Bridge Street Improvements Projects

Waitsfield STP EH08(6) and SSMG72

The Town will strive to keep the community updated for the duration of the project.  Updates will be posted below, on Facebook, on Front Porch Forum, and by direct e-mail. Please contact Town Administrator Valerie Capels to be added to the e-mail distribution list. Posted below is information about the project and anticipated schedule.

Updates

Bridge Street from the Covered Bridge to Main Street will be closed beginning Monday, May 18, 2015.

Background

Big Eddy 1833 Historic Covered Bridge

With assistance from a $270,000 VTrans Enhancement Grant, DuBois and King was hired in 2010 to design a solution to the cantilevered sidewalk on the north side of the Waitsfield Village 1833 Covered Bridge and repair the bridge's abutments.   The Covered Bridge Repair Reserve Fund was re-established in 2008 to begin setting aside monies to meet the Town's matching funds obligation of approximately $70,000 and future structural issues.   The 1833 Village Covered Bridge, also known as the Big Eddy Covered Bridge, is confirmed to be the oldest covered bridge in Vermont still in everyday use and the Town is committed to preserving this historic Vermont landmark.

A final design plan was in the process of being selected when Tropical Storm Irene caused extensive damage requiring the bridge be closed for weeks.   Final repairs, coupled with implementation of the restoration plan, were planned for 2012, but the project encountered delays.   Replacement of the deteriorating deck was put out to bid separately in 2012, but the bids came in much higher than expected and all were rejected.   Voters approved borrowing up to $75,000 in 2014 to cover anticipated cost increases.   Combined with the Bridge Street stormwater and retaining wall repair projects, the construction package was advertised for bid in 2014, but all bids were also rejected as the low bid far exceeded the funds available.

Bridge Street, April 2014

The projects were bid again in early January 2015, this time with the Covered Bridge as the base bid and the stormwater, retaining wall, bridge decking, and concrete abutment repair as add/alternates. The base bid for the Covered Bridge rehab project was $462,172; with the decking and concrete abutment repair included, the total Covered Bridge cost is $600,035.  Off-setting revenues include $75,000 from the Covered Bridge Repair Reserve Fund. Voters approved renaming the existing Culvert Replacement Reserve Fund to the Bridge and Culvert Reserve Fund, from which $75,000 would be allocated toward this project.   And voters approved a bond article for up to $400,000 to cover this and the balance of the remaining costs on the other add/alt. components.

Stormwater System Replacement

The culverts under Bridge Street were installed in 1941 by the State of Vermont and began showing signs of failure, including a subsidence in the center of Bridge Street in 2010.   DuBois & King, Inc. was hired through the assistance of an $11,000 VTrans stormwater grant to examine this and provide recommendations that include opportunities for improved stormwater management.   In January 2012, D & K recommended to the Selectboard that the culverts, catch basins, and associated infrastructure be replaced and that sumps be included in new basins.   There was agreement that complete resurfacing of Bridge Street, rather than patching or an overlay, would be the most appropriate investment at an estimated cost at that time of $189,000.   Damage to the retaining wall left exposed by Tropical Storm Irene in August 2011 and the plans for reconstruction of "the old barber shop" building that was destroyed added complications to the schedule and sequencing of the Bridge Street projects.   That coupled with right-of-way matters caused delays in VTrans' review.

Voters in 2013 authorized borrowing up to $250,000 over 5 years for the repair or replacement of the culverts, catch basins, and associated stormwater infrastructure on Bridge Street, to repair the retaining wall, and to repave the street from its intersection with Main Street to the Covered Bridge through 2014.   The projects were advertised for construction in 2014 bundled with the Covered Bridge Rehabilitation; however, all bids were rejected as the low bid far exceeded the funds available.

FEMA granted an extension to September 1, 2015 for completion of the retaining wall reconstruction and will pay up to 90% of the eligible costs.   Accounting for FEMA funds already disbursed since 2011, additional funding could amount to approximately $32,900.

In September 2014 the Town learned that STAG funds could be used to reimburse stormwater improvements.   As a result, eligible costs from the Bridge Street stormwater efforts to this point plus construction going forward could yield at least $161,000 in EPA STAG funding.

Bond Vote

WARNING

The legal voters of the Town of Waitsfield, Vermont, are hereby notified and warned to meet at the Waitsfield Elementary School in the Town of Waitsfield on Tuesday, March 3, 2015 between the hours of seven o'clock in the forenoon (7:00 a.m.), at which time the polls will open, and seven o'clock in the afternoon (7:00 p.m.), at which time the polls will close, to vote by Australian ballot upon the following Articles of business:

ARTICLE I

Shall the Town adopt the proposed Town of Waitsfield Charter?

ARTICLE II

Shall general obligation bonds of the Town of Waitsfield in an amount not to exceed four hundred thousand dollars ($400,000) be issued for the purpose of financing the rehabilitation of the Big Eddy Covered Bridge; repair or replacement of the culverts, catch basins, and associated stormwater infrastructure on Bridge Street; repair of the retaining wall damaged by Tropical Storm Irene; resetting existing and installation of new curbing; replacement of the sidewalks; and repaving of the road from its intersection with Main Street to the Covered Bridge? The total cost of the projects is expected to be $964,000, of which cost it is estimated $150,000 will be paid from reserve funds and $416,000 will be paid from available state and federal grants-in-aid.

The legal voters of the Town of Waitsfield are further notified that voter qualification, registration, and absentee voting relative to said special meeting shall be as provided in Chapters 43, 51 and 55 of Title 17, Vermont Statutes Annotated.

The legal voters of the Town of Waitsfield are further notified that an informational meeting will be held on Monday, March 2, 2015 at seven o'clock in the afternoon (7:00 p.m.) at the Waitsfield Elementary School in the Town of Waitsfield, for the purpose of explaining the proposed improvements and the financing thereof.

Dated at Waitsfield, Vermont, this 26th day of January, 2015 by:

SAMPLE BALLOT

** ELECTION RESULTS:  407 (81.4%) YES, 86 (17.2%) NO, 7 (0.01%) BLANK.  Of the 500 total ballots cast, 41 were absentee. **
 
WAITSIFIELD SELECTBOARD

Contacts

Town Administrator

VALERIE J. CAPELS

Waitsfield Town Office
4144 Main Street
Waitsfield, VT 05673

Phone: (802) 496-2218
Fax: (802) 496-9284
E-mail: townadmin@madriver.com