I-91 between Bradford and Fairlee closes following rockslide

By LIZ SAUCHELLI

Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 02-28-2024 4:59 PM

FAIRLEE — A portion of Interstate 91 South between Bradford, Vt., and Fairlee will be closed at least a week as it undergoes repairs caused by a Tuesday night rockslide.

No injuries were reported in the rockslide, according to a news release sent out after 11:30 p.m. Tuesday by Vermont State Police.

“We had debris covering the southbound lane and debris spilled over to the northbound lane,” Shauna Clifford, Vermont Agency of Transportation district transportation administrator for the southeast region, which includes Fairlee, said in a Wednesday phone interview about the 6-mile stretch between exits 15 and 16.

The northbound lane was cleaned up and reopened, but both of the southbound lanes will remain closed. Drivers will instead need to use a detour on routes 5 and 25, according to a Wednesday news release from the VTrans.

“There’s additional large rocks on the top of the slope that are basically not stable enough for us to have kept the interstate open because of the weather coming,” Clifford said, referencing the “freeze/thaw” weather conditions on the way.

A contractor is expected to begin work by Saturday, she added. Once the large rocks are stabilized, one lane of traffic on the southbound lane will reopen. The rockslide occurred along the same stretch of roadway where the state completed a stabilization project last summer.

Fairlee Police Chief Wayne Briggs said that Route 5 has already had an influx of traffic due to the closure of the East Thetford/Lyme bridge and he expects that the interstate closure will add to that.

“Especially during the morning commute, there’s a lot of people up in that area who travel south to get to the Dartmouth area to go to work so I would ask people to leave early and plan for extra time,” Briggs said in a phone interview.

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Liz Sauchelli can be reached at esauchelli@vnews.com or 603-727-3221.