The Mountain Times

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Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

Letter to the Editor Feb. 1

Dear Editor,

First, I'd like to say that at 56 years old, this is the first time I've ever written a letter to the editor. But I was so incensed by the article in your Jan 26 edition by Scott Rogers who is the Director of Operations for the Vermont Agency of Transportation about using salt brine to minimize  winter road treatment costs, that I was forced into action to voice my opinion.

My family has owned a vacation home in Central Vermont since 1961. We have made thousands of trips to Vermont from Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Hampshire over the years. It is almost without exception that winter road conditions dangerously deteriorate when we enter the State of Vermont. Why can Mass and NH highway crews consistently provide safer road surfaces? I'm not complaining merely because icy roads often cause the inconvenience of huge traffic jams, but because of the countless injuries and fatalities that have needlessly occurred due to this long-time pattern of inadequate road treatment.

We are respectful of the environment. But the statements about not wanting to allow sand and salt from getting into our eco-system are ridiculous. Where does sand and salt come from? I think the damage of road salt on the highways, bridges and local foliage is a small price to pay for protecting the lives and safety of all people who rightfully expect the roads in Vermont to be treated at least as well as neighboring state roads. Over the years, we and our friends have personally witnessed and tried to assist in the rescue of many victims of injury and death along Rt 91 in southern Vermont.  Many of these accidents and lives would have been spared if VT Trans took the precaution of treating the roads immediately as forecasted precipitation fell like Massachusetts does.

Highway crews cannot treat all roadways immediately as the surface freezes. But why can't the Director figure out that there will be a huge volume of traffic on Rt. 91 every Friday and Sunday afternoons and evenings?   The director should deploy resources to these high traffic volume roads before injuries occur.  I agree that the driving behavior of many of these tourists is deplorable, but,, in fact, that makes your responsibility to treat or maybe over-treat the highway surfaces with the most effective products available  even more critical!  Liquid, solid, vapor, molasses compounds, etc - we don't care -  just get it done to save lives!

Your last statement, "In the end, the safety of everyone on the road depends on the choices you make," actually best applies to the preventative steps the Director and his people should take to minimize icy roads. He should look in the mirror!

Black ice is preventable and totally unacceptable! (eg. January 24, 2012 on Rt. 91 in Brattleboro.)

As non-residents of Vermont we cannot vote. But, we happily send our tax dollars to help support local and state governments because we love Vermont. We receive very little in return for these dollars, but we ask that you please appoint officials that help protect the lives of our families as we travel the highways of Vermont. Those who do not recognize the foremost responsibility of saving lives should not be employed by any public or private authority!

Respectfully,

Gary & Allyson Carling, Westford, MA and Ludlow, VT

Tagged: Gary & Allyson Carling, Letter to the Editor, road conditions, icy roads