NEWPORT CITY — Vermont Route 191, known as Newport City’s access road to Interstate 91, is now closed to all traffic for major reconstruction.

Motorists on I-91 are being diverted to the Derby exit to reach Newport City. Locals are taking several other routes to the downtown of Newport.

The road will be closed between Western Avenue below and Pine Hill Road/Crawford Road above for six weeks for the $3.2 million project by Barton contractor J.P. Sicard.

On Monday, dump trucks of various sizes were arriving to cart away large amounts of dirt and rock being dug out at and below the road bed.

A 1,450-foot section of the road has been in a slow-motion slide toward the Clyde River ever since it was constructed in 1971. The road surface has been rebuilt periodically until recently when the state of Vermont decided to identify the problem and fix it permanently.

The problem is that the entire slope has been moving due to deep drainage problems.

The plan is to dig down 30 feet, put in active extraction wells to alleviate groundwater pressure and increase the stability of the bank.

The Vermont Agency of Transportation is issuing weekly updates on the status of the project.

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