Dangerous highway

To the Editor:

In 1965 Bob Dylan famously sang, "You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows." In 2011, I would argue that "you don't need a highway engineer to know when a road is screwed up." That is certainly the case with I-91 between St Johnsbury and Lyndonville.

Ever since the road was resurfaced two summers ago, local drivers have complained about poor traction in the north- and south-bound lanes between the I-93 exchange and Exit 23 when the road is wet. Blame has focused either on the materials used or the method of applying these materials. Last winter the state erected temporary signs that warned of slippery conditions on this section of I-91, and these signs were replaced with more-permanent signage in the spring. An article in this newspaper this summer reported that the AOT had conducted some sort of technical analysis of this roadway (probably on a warm, sunny weekday), and despite having placed warning signs, the AOT reported there was nothing in their analysis to suggest that this roadway was more slippery than other sections of I-91.

BALONEY. In the past few months I have been driving to and from Lyndonville and St Johnsbury between Exits 21 and 23, and this road is DANGEROUS when it is wet. The road surface is hollowed-out along where routine traffic patterns have worn a groove in which water collects. These channels are hundreds of yards long, and when your car hits one it will hydroplane. These channels are barely visible in the daylight and completely invisible after dark. This condition is NOT typical of the usual state of interstate highways, which were designed and built to drain water from the surface rather than allowing water to pool on its surface. From repeated trips I have learned where they are, and I have learned to slow to 55 or less when this road is wet, but unfamiliar drivers will not be expecting this condition coming from either direction where the road does not have this problem.


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