NH-VT bridge relief seen as unlikely

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A Vermont senator says he doubts Congress will act soon to help truckers who are inconvenienced by new weight limits on a bridge between New Hampshire and Vermont.

Senator Patrick Leahy says Congress is not scheduled to debate highway bills until next year and partisan gridlock has slowed action generally in Washington.

Officials recently limited trucks crossing the Route 4 bridge between Lebanon and White River Junction to 20,000 pounds. The bridge had been a key route for heavy trucks serving area industries.

The nearby Interstate 89 bridge would be a good alternative, but weight restrictions on Interstate highways in Vermont keep truckers from carrying as much as they would like.

Vermont Governor Jim Douglas and truckers want the Interstate limit raised to that in New Hampshire – 99,000 pounds. But Leahy told the Valley News of Lebanon yesterday that won’t happen soon. Leahy also said he is not sure he would support it.

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