New estimate lowers Vt. Irene recovery costs

October 31, 2011 - 7:00 PM

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont state officials have dramatically lowered their estimates of the costs of repairs to roads, bridges and culverts following Tropical Storm Irene.

State officials as recently as mid-October had thought the costs of those repairs could reach $620 million. But now they say the emergency nature of the repairs including reduced permitting and planning has cut those cost estimates by half to two-thirds.

Gov. Peter Shumlin and his aides said Monday the costs are expected to range from $175 million to $250 million.

Deputy Transportation Secretary Sue Minter says initial estimates were higher because they were made with standard construction practices in mind, rather than emergency ones.

State officials say the work has gone much faster than expected. They praise transportation workers and others for their efforts.