The Mountain Times

°F Fri, April 18, 2014

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Widespread Damage from Irene

In our last week's Hurricane Irene edition we were perhaps premature in stating in our headline that "Killington was Vermont's Most Storm Damaged Community." Indeed we took a bad hit, but there's enormous progress at repair and reconstruction. The major distraction is highway access, and not lack of effort, cooperation or enthusiasm to get things done.

Killington Resort and The Town of Killington is mostly in business or ready to do business right now... you just have to get there.  Limited access is open from the Woodstock side, but Route 4 in from Mendon is still a problem, and will remain so for an undetermined time, but it should be well taken care of prior to the winter season, and hopefully before foliage time.

Volunteer workers in Killington include those in the Regional Command Center and the food and supply "Comfort Station" at the Killington Elementary School, and dozens of self organized help groups. This station is manned by the staff and teachers of the school, many of whom walk in from Rutland on the Helvi Hill to Journey's End pathway then are shuttled to work. When I visited them on Friday they were at work distributing supplies as well as providing recreational activities for area school children.

This sort of activity is occurring everywhere in the region, and is a credit to the durability, generosity and backbone of Vermonters. We won't be beaten. 

Killington Teacher Royal

Photo by Royal Barnard

Looking around Killington:

 Chris Nyberg Pittsfield Roadway

Photo by Chris Nyberg

Pittsfield - There was serious damage to Route 100 North from Killington. The roadway in the area of the "S" curves suffered serious washouts. Lindsey Rodgers, a Mountain Times co-worker was stranded in this area until rescued by Killington Contractor, Ken Hurley. The covered bridge to Riverside Farm south of Pittsfield is gone. At least one house in the village near the river was moved off its foundation. Pittsfield was without power and telephone somewhat longer than other communities because of impossible access to utility workers. Once in, service was quickly repaired. 

Pittsfield Moved House Sasha Parise

photo by Sasha Parise

Stockbridge - Route 107 from Pittsfield to Bethel is reported to be totally impassable. The White River along "Refrigerator Flats" and just south of Tozier's Restaurant is reported to have completely taken out any evidence of roadway. It should be assumed that utility lines were also destroyed.  

Rochester - Another Mountain Times co-worker, Erica Harrington, and her family were stranded by a bridge washout to their home on Route 73 towards Brandon Gap. This was our first contact in Rochester until she lost power and cell service. CVPS spokesman, Steve Costello, has kept us up to date on progress at getting into Rochester, and this was clearly one of the hardest hit areas. Once in repairs were made to an important sub-station and power mostly restored. The major problem for utility crews was simply getting to the effected areas. Steve told me that more than one of his experienced line-crew members held back tears while experiencing the difficult plight of numerous customers in the Rochester area, and also while working Route 100S from Killington into Plymouth. The following photos and account comes to us from Rochester Resident John Allen, and is printed with his permission: 

"Greetings All. Just a quick note and a few pictures from one small town in Post-Irene Vermont.  While we are just now able to leave the village, many roads and bridges around us are damaged or just gone completely.

The original prediction for the restoration of power was 6-8 weeks, they got us back on last night after only 5 days.  I am sending this group email because Meg and I want to thank the incredible efforts of power, road and emergency crews from all over the country and Canada.  We had line crews from almost ever Midwestern State (even Kansas sent "The Wichita Lineman"). 

If you know of anyone in your area that responded to this small New England State, please pass along our heartfelt thanks.  I only wish Vermont could repay this tremendous debt by somehow sending it's excess water to the fires currently burning in the southwest.  More flash flooding is predicted for us this weekend.

To my Fellow Vermonters, Meg and I hope you are all safe and recovering from Irene as well.  Our thoughts are with you. 

John Allen Photo #1

This is a house just down the road from Meg and myself.  This is normally just a creek that flows by at about 1100 ft elevation.  Hard to see, but about 20 ft of it is totally hanging in mid-air. 

John Allen Photo #2

This is a house in town that also sits next to a small stream.  This house belongs to the woman who served as Chairperson during one of my 6 years on the school board.

John Allen Photo #3

(For you tennis friends of mine), is what is left of the courts that just barely got re-surfaced and new netting." 

Take care Everyone.

John Allen 

Route 100S to Plymouth and Ludlow - This is another very hard hit area. The river along Route 100S near the Village of Plymouth Union is reported severely damaged. CVPS reports that power lines were destroyed for a significant distance, with poles dangling in mid air.  By the time you read this report power will have been substantially restored. We have no inside contact in Plymouth and can't provide first hand knowledge, but suffice it to say there have been problems.  

Gary Haffke 100S

photo by Gary Haffke of 100 South

Rutland - Serious flooding occurred in the Baxter Street and Cleveland Avenue sections of the City.  At one point there was concern that Patch's Dam on the East Creek might rupture. The dam did not rupture, and I've been told there may be a story of heroism behind why it didn't. More here if we can find out. The "new Route 7 South suffered the loss of the four lane bridge that crosses the Cold River in North Clarendon. Initially, one lane and part of the second gave in, then later the last section broke, stranding two construction workers who were later rescued. The Otter Creek in the lowlands from Wallingford north swelled it's banks causing flooding along the way. The roadway in Center Rutland was temporarily closed.  

Center Rutland Bartlett

photo by Thomas Bartlett of Center Rutland

Proctor -  

Sutherland Falls At Proctor Barttlett

photo by Thomas Bartlett of Sutherland Falls 

Ira, Tinmouth and Wallingford - At press time we have no first hand reports or photos from this area. 

PLEASE keep in mind that this reporting is based on reports from persons we believe to be "trusted sources," but given the circumstances it should not be relied upon as more than "well informed hearsay." We do publish up to the minute "official" releases as received from CVPS, the Killington Region Command Center, The BUS, and town and local officials. Please make all decisions on this and no other reports. 

During the last week I have heard hundreds of stories, visited dozens of locations in effected areas, and fought my own battle to continue publishing a real time website and a weekly newspaper. NOWHERE is anybody complaining. NOWHERE  did I see anybody giving up. EVERYWHERE people are helping each other and sharing resources. EVERYWHERE people are communicative, friendly and helpful. Former enemies have become friends while digging in the same ditch up to their knees in mud. This experience is painful, but it's not all bad.

Tagged: Vermont, hurricane irene