Traffic delays expected as I89 undergoes repairs

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(Host) Commuters traveling on Interstate 89 north to Chittenden County should expect delays for much of May, as the state transportation agency works to repair the roadway.

Drivers on this section of the Interstate already know the problem. On French Hill, heading north from Richmond, the road surface dips sharply. For the ‘uninitiated’, the mammoth dip can stretch a car’s suspension and send coffee cups flying.

John Zicconi is a spokesman for the Agency of Transportation. He says traffic on the northbound side of the Interstate will be limited to one lane beginning May 12th while repairs are made.

(Zicconi) We’re not going to sugarcoat this one. We expect the delays to be significant.

(Host) Road crews will work around the clock, seven days a week. But one lane will still have to be closed for about two weeks. Zicconi said traffic could back up for a mile or more.

To help motorists manage their travel time, the state will use road-side message boards – and its web site – to provide real-time information about the delays.

(Zicconi) We will monitor things very closely, and we will react quickly. But the thing we wanted to let people know is that no matter how you slice it, there are going to be delays. And especially during peak times, there’s a significant chance for lengthy delays. And we want people to know ahead of time and do what they can to alter their schedule so they are inconvenienced as little as possible.

(Host) Zicconi said the dip was caused by the ‘sub-base’ shifting underneath. Highway engineers don’t know why that happened. But in order to repair the problem, workers have to dig down to the sub-base and re-build about 500 feet of road.


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