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Fisher Road is Open

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Image of four individuals standing in front of a yellow plastic ribbon.
Local officials opened the long-closed Paine Turnpike intersection of Fisher Road in a brief ribbon cutting ceremony on Dec. 22. From left to right: Berlin Select Board member Flo Smith; Robert Clark, senior engineer with Otter Creek Engineering; Ken Goslant, Vermont State Rep for Berlin and Northfield; and Justin Lawrence, Chair of the Berlin Select Board. Photo by Larry Floersch.

About 20 people attended a brief but joyful ribbon cutting ceremony marking the reopening of Fisher Road in Berlin at 10 a.m. this morning. The road closed well over a year ago after a culvert failed, frustrating local residents who use it as their main access to the Central Vermont Medical Center and the Berlin Mall via  Berlin Street. 

While the road is now open, the project is not complete. The road still needs to be paved. 

Small child in hard hat and reflective vest on left in the arms of his mother on left.
Five year old Gabriel Nathaniel DePillis, left, and his mom, Debra Ann DePillis, attended the ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the reopening of Fisher Road in Berlin. Debra Ann said she and her son would park across the street to watch the large construction equipment over the past several months. “When we saw no excavators, we said ‘something’s changing,'” she said. She and Gabriel saw the ribbon cutting notice on the Berlin Town website and got dressed for the occasion. Gabriel made sure to report the news to his class at school. Photo by Larry Floersch

Robert Clark, senior engineer with Otter Creek Engineering, the primary engineering consultant for the project, said “with COVID it was hard to get everything together before the end of the year. The weather’s not appropriate to pave until the spring.”

Clark said he expects the road to get paved by April 2022, but “it’s weather dependent” so he could not guarantee a specific date.

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The Fisher Road culvert failed 15 months ago, on Sept. 29, 2020, after heavy rains, blocking vehicle passage between the intersection with Paine Turnpike and the entrances to the Army National Guard facility and the psychiatric hospital as well as the Berlin Mall and the Central Vermont Medical Center.

Newly reopened Fisher Road at the Paine Turnpike intersection is not yet paved, but is ready for traffic. Photo by Cassandra Hemenway