We are coming up on the 12-year anniversary of Tropical Storm Irene when Vermont was submersed in unprecedented flood water. More than 3,500 homes and businesses were impacted and 500 miles of state roads were heavily damaged or washed away altogether. Among the areas hardest hit was Waterbury, Vermont, where 1,500 state workers were displaced at the Vermont State Office Complex when flooding made the buildings uninhabitable. In stepped the PC Construction and Freeman French Freeman team to help the State bring the complex back to life right where it always was – in the heart of the community.
As part of the $100 million redevelopment of the 100-acre site, extensive flood prevention measures were incorporated into all new and existing buildings, including elevating the structures to above the 500-year flood level.
Those efforts stood the ultimate test this week when over eight inches of rain fell in parts of Vermont. Dams threatened to overflow, the interstate was shut down, and some communities were completely cut off from the rest of the state. Waterbury was once again under water as the banks of the Winooski River overflowed, creeping closer and closer to the Vermont State Office Complex (see image). But this time, the complex was prepared, and the flood prevention measures proved successful.
There is still much work ahead for Vermonters. For now, we are thankful that the extensive planning taken over a decade ago helped minimize the devastation of this rainfall event for the Waterbury community.