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New bridge in works for Bristol

BRISTOL-The makeshift one-lane bridge over the ever-shifting New Haven River on Vermont Route 116 in Bristol will be replaced in 2014, according to Martha Evans-Mongeon, an engineer with the Vermont Agency of Transportation or VTrans.

Evans-Mongeon said the bridge project, which she will oversee, will replace the current temporary span that was erected after major flooding in 2000.

The engineer said the new bridge will be 200 feet longer and wider than the current span which is 100 feet in length. It will include shoulders and twin lanes unlike the current "stoplight" bridge.

The longer bridge will require reworking the current "elbow" in Route 116/ The new span will also be long enough to replace a culvert over a small brook, Evans-Mongeon said.

The cost of the projected $7.3 million bridge will be funded by taxpayers.

A portion of the project will be supported by U.S. tax dollars from the Federal Highway Administration and from state taxpayers via VTrans coffers.

Approximately 20 percent of the total cost will be paid by VTrans.

Route 116 officially starts north at U.S. Route 7 in Middlebury. North of the bridge, Route 116 continues north to Bristol where it runs It runs concurrently with Vermont Route 17. North of Bristol, the highway passes through Starksboro and Hinesburg. It ends in South Burlington at its intersection with U.S. Route 2 on Williston Road.

During the construction which is now scheduled to begin in the summer of 2013, VTrans will construct a temporary bridge south of the current span.

VTrans will remove the old "stoplight" structure which was built atop an earlier, steel highway bridge. And the new bridge will open in late 2014.

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