Road Paving Tour ? Follow-up
I met on July 21st at the Route 116 site with Rep. Kitzmiller, members
of AOT, and Addison County Regional Planning to discuss the repaving of
Route 116 from Bristol to East Middlebury. Route 116 is a Rural Minor
Arterial road and, according to the present Vermont State Standards for
Roadway Reconstruction Projects, should have a shoulder width of 4 feet.
It should be quickly pointed out though that this was a REPAVING project
and not a RECONSTRUCTION project, and thatís the difficulty.
The state has two programs for road construction. One program deals with
REPAVING and the second with RECONSTRUCTION (which includes new
construction although little or none is presently being done).
RECONSTRUCTION allows for the shoulders to be widened according to the
state standards. AOT has determined that REPAVING allows for the
shoulder be to widened ONLY AS WIDE AS THE PRESENT ROADBED.
Since Route 116, and many other roads in the state, were originally
fairly narrow what this means is that there are places where the
shoulder is therefore zero feet wide, although much of it is between one
and two foot wide. It also means that these roads will never get widened
to the present standards unless they become RECONSTRUCTION rather than
REPAVING projects. (A road, like Route 116, could be REPAVED without
widened shoulders, then in another 10-15 years it could again be REPAVED
without widened shoulders, then in another 10-15 years Ö)
Since the state presently has more RECONSTUCTION projects than it can
complete ? and is REMOVING RECONSTUCTION projects from its present list
with the plan to not add any new projects for the next three to five
years ? this effectively means that no shoulder widening will be taking
place in the near future.
If we go back to the statues for "Pavement of Highway Shoulder," Section
"Any construction, or reconstruction, including upgrading and
resurfacing projects on these highways shall include paved shoulders
unless the agency of transportation deems certain sections to be cost
You will note that it does not state that the "paved shoulders" should
conform to the "Vermont State Standards for Roadway Reconstruction
Projects" and thus the width of the shoulder is determined by AOT.
Representative Kitzmiller submitted revised wording for subsection b
which is contained in H. 211. The proposed changes to subsection b are
"b) Any construction, or reconstruction, including upgrading and
resurfacing projects on these highways shall include durable paved
shoulders. Resurfacing projects should optimize shoulder widths unless
the agency determines that it is impractical to do so because of adverse
impacts on natural or cultural resources, the need to acquire additional
right-of-ways, or significant increases in construction costs."
I am not sure that the above will make any changes to the present AOT
policies, although I would like to think it would.
The way the present programs work if a road starts to deteriorate it is
put into the REPAVING program and does not get wider shoulders. A road
only gets into the RECONSTRUCTION program if it has major, major
The problem as I see it is that we really need a third UPGRADE option
for roads which do not need either REPAVING or RECONSTRUCTION and this
UPGRADE option does not seem to be available. Presently the REPAVING
option does not allow for an UPGRADE of the shoulder width. Presently
the RECONSTUCTION option does allow for the UPGRADE of shoulder width,
but only for those roads which are in such bad shape that the total road
needs to be rebuilt. I expect that many of the states roads do not need
either REPAVING or RECONSTRUCTION, but do need an UPGRADE in shoulder
width due to changes in usage, i.e. wider farm equipment, bicyclists,
increased traffic usage, etc.
In my original report I stated that I could not determine whether the
Road Paving Tour was useful or a sham. I expect it was a bit of both. On
the tour AOT stated that they would like to bring all Vermont road up to
the "Vermont State Standards for Roadway Reconstruction Projects." What
they did not say is that under the present system it would never get
close to happening.
I am unsure of what guidance I can provide to the Vermont Bicycle and
Pedestrian Coalition. I do think that itís very important for the House
Transportation Committee to realize that there is no present AOT option
to easily upgrade roads. I also think they need to realize there are
many roads that, due to changes in usage over the years, should be
upgraded. Lastly, I think that the suggested taking of pictures on
various roads along with a statement on how the road is presently being
used could be beneficial to the understanding of this situation.
Respectfully submitted, rick
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Rick Good Shiesl Corporation
Voice: (802) 453-6196
Fax: (802) 453-6197
E-Mail: [log in to unmask]
It ain't your world; it's our world.
Dr. Drew Pinsky
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