Wed, Feb 1, 2012 08:44 AM
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
Gary & Allyson Carling, Westford, MA and Ludlow, VT