Roads throughout The Valley will have to be inventoried and updated to meet new standards, starting in 2020.
Jim Ryan is in charge of the Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation’s Municipal Road General Permit (MRGP). The permit will be in place and towns will have to apply for them in July 2018.
Through the first two years, from 2018 to 2020, municipalities will have to create an inventory of all “hydrologically connected” roads (any road that can be connected to a water source). Ryan said that some towns have started their inventories. Municipalities have chosen to hire consultants to create their inventory or regional planning commission’s throughout Vermont will assist towns.
Ryan said that on average 50 percent of a town’s roads are considered hydrologically connected.
“Each town is a little bit different depending on the geography and the topography and the amount of streams, lakes, ponds and wetlands in the town,” Ryan explained.
Once the inventory is complete, municipalities will have until 2036 to ensure that the connected roads meet the standards set forth through the permit. The permit is currently on public notice and the Department of Environmental Conservation is inviting feedback on the draft until October 27, 2017.
In order to meet the timeline, municipalities will be given a certain amount of work to complete each year.
“Once a year [towns] will let us know where they worked and have those road segments that did not previously meet our standards if they now meet our standards. So, where they’ve worked in the past year and where they plan to work in the next year,” Ryan said.
The MRGP is a product of Act 64, commonly known as the Vermont Clean Water Act.
Ryan said he has worked with road departments in The Valley, specifically in Waitsfield and Fayston, as he has done throughout the state. He noted that the department wants to make sure that municipalities know what resources are out there to assist them.
Waitsfield, Fayston and Warren are all taking part in a grant-in-aid pilot program, which was created to help towns prepare for the MRGP.
“We had a Valleywide road foreman municipal roads presentation earlier this summer to go over the permit and what’s going to be required and the resources that are going to be available,” Ryan said.
“We’re trying to get the resources to the municipalities to the towns to help them get prepared for the permit,” he added. “We’re trying to get the towns ready before the permit kicks in.”
The permit costs $2,000 and about $400 in administrative fees in the first year.