• Those rock ledges
    October 17,2013

    Those rock ledges

    A recent letter by John Snell asked that the $1.5 million being spent on removal of rock ledges bordering the Montpelier entrance to Interstate 89 be reallocated. I agree 100 percent with the other needs he mentioned, but I have another view regarding the ledges, based on a somewhat personal experience.

    While living for 16 years in New York State’s Rockland County, I had a daily commute to Westchester County, across the Hudson River. Shortly after exiting the bridge was a curved road with threatening-looking high ledges on the right side. One day, not long after I’d gone through, a woman was killed when part of the ledge came down on her car. Need I say more?

    We have many such threats here, many ledges, along interstates and elsewhere. Remember the acid rain in the 1970s, related to fossil fuel plants in the Midwest? Over time, acid rain (and snow) damages high mountain peaks, waters, ledges, tombstones and other rock or stone formations or buildings containing limestone or marble, which, over time, is washed away. This can leave ledges, for example, with spaces and gullies that loosen the entire formation. When heading northwest on I-89 toward Burlington, there’s a long hill with high rock ledges on the right, French Hill, and I always stay as far away from them as I can. That’s one of the places being worked on. (Just so you know, I don’t scare easily. Had I not done acid rain research or not known of the tragic accident, I might also be unaware of the potential threats.)

    Several of the large, threatening ledges along the New York State Thruway are now covered with heavy metal mesh that keeps the rock from falling onto the highway. There is also some progress being made here along Vermont roads. We certainly don’t want any more expensive projects in these difficult times, but seeing progress in this area is encouraging to me. Here’s hoping.

    Judy Larson DiMario


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