Rock ledge removal will close I-89 ramp at exit 8By WILSON RING
THE Associated Press | September 28,2013AP PHOTO
Workers remove ledge at Exit 8 on Interstate 89 in Montpelier this week. Twenty years after former Gov. Howard Dean vowed to end unneeded ledge removal work on interstate highways, crews are preparing to blast ledge at the exit just west of the capital city.MONTPELIER — The blasting phase of Vermont’s latest ledge removal project to reduce the risk of rocks falling onto roadways will force motorists traveling north from Montpelier to find another way onto Interstate 89.
The northbound on-ramp of exit 8 is scheduled to close Thursday for a month so that the rock ledge can be removed with explosives as part of a $1.5 million project, which has been under way for several weeks, said Vermont Transportation Agency Project Manager Ken Robie.
“The inside of that ramp, because of the angle of the rock and the way it’s fractured, you can’t do it an easier way or a lighter way,” Robie said of using explosives. “So they are going to go in and drill and blast and knock that back to a safer angle.”
Workers will also remove vegetation, which can loosen rocks, from ledges on both sides of the interchange and pry rocks off with heavy equipment and by hand. Robie warned that the methods could change.
“These are kind of dynamic projects. Until you get into it you sometimes don’t know what the treatment is going to be,” Robie said.
There are about 3,000 rock faces along Vermont roadways, including about 500 along state highways that will have to be treated at some point, Robie said.
While there was a public push 20 years ago to end ledge removal projects of rock outcroppings between lanes, Deputy Transportation Secretary Sue Minter said that work is now focused on areas believed to pose a risk of rock falls onto the highway.
“There are a whole lot of possible incidents waiting to happen,” Minter said.
Other recent ledge projects include the northbound lane of I-89 in the Jonesville section of Richmond; Berlin, just south of the Montpelier exit; and an emergency project in Barre after a rock fell into the roadway. There have also been projects at various locations on Interstate 91 and other state routes.MORE IN Vermont News
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Dutch father of microbiology Antonie van Leeuwenhoek discovers the existence of one-celled organisms; in 1967, The Doors are booked to play the Ed Sullivan show; in 1858, freedom fighter Dred Scott dies on this day in St. Louis.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: No money this year for western rail project, Lola Aiken memorialized in Montpelier, Supreme Court Castleton murder suspect will remain in jail, Shaftbury man fires shots from his AK-47 into neighbor's home.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1959, Soviet Premier Nikita S. Khrushchev arrives in U.S. for historic 13-day visit; in 1987, Secretary of State George Shultz and Soviet Foreign Minister Eduard Shevardnadze sign nuclear reduction agreement.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City celebrates completion of its newest mural, on West Street opposite the post office, more than $2 million in federal grants will bolster Vermont's health centers, Patrick McArdle reports on pending sale of Vermont papers.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Henry Hudson sails up the Hudson River as far as present-day Albany, Leo Szilard has epiphany waiting for the light to change, 3 kids report a West Virginia close encounter in 1952.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Who will run for mayor in Rutland next year? Has Bennington overcome its fear of twerking? Documentary 'Hungry Heart' packs the Paramount, and the city's Creek Path scores another million-plus dollars.