Why is the Kimball Avenue bridge in South Burlington once again a bumpy ride?

A car heads west on the crumbling surface of the temporary bridge that links Kimball Avenue in South Burlington with Marshall Avenue in Williston on Nov. 11, 2020.
The crossing will be filled and paved next year, with a large culvert handling water from Muddy Brook.

A major thoroughfare between South Burlington and Williston will regain more solid footing when the shaky-but-safe temporary bridge is replaced next year, according to South Burlington officials.

Until then, drive slowly and with caution as you pass back and forth on Kimball and Marshall avenues, said Justin Rabidoux, director of the city’s Public Works Department.

Crews have been unable to lay a thick layer of asphalt on the bridge because the structure is state-owned, Rabidoux said, and must eventually be returned in its original condition.

A pickup truck heads east on the temporary bridge linking Kimball Avenue in South Burlington with Marshall Avenue in Williston on Nov. 11, 2020.
The crossing will be filled and paved next year, with a large culvert handling water from Muddy Brook.

This spring, work will begin on constructing a large concrete culvert in Muddy Brook, and raising a solid roadbed to its banks — a job that will close the crossing to all traffic for four to six weeks, Rabidoux said.

The alternative, he added, would be to allow one-way traffic during construction, which would be more costly, and would extend the work to three months.

About 7,400 vehicles per day use the crossing. There is no sidewalk.

A solid crossing preceded the bridge. Floodwater coursing through Muddy Brook damaged an aging culvert in the structure, and a temporary platform bridge was rented from the state and installed August 2017.

Over Halloween night 2019, a major rainstorm battered the remains of the culvert and eroded embankments beneath the temporary bridge.

Officials closed the road; the embankments were armored with rock, and traffic resumed on New Year’s Day 2020.

Contact Joel Banner Baird at 802-660-1843 or joelbaird@freepressmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @VTgoingUp.

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