Photo courtesy of APWA
Photo courtesy of APWA Photo courtesy of APWA

Sunderland’s Kelley Stand Road, was recently named a 2015 Public Works Project of the Year by the American Public Works Association (APWA). The Town of Sunderland, Vermont, as the managing agency; and J.A. McDonald, Inc., the primary contractor; as well as VHB, the primary consultant; these were all presented with the national Project of the Year Award during APWA’s 2015 International Public Works Congress & Exposition Awards Ceremony in Phoenix, Arizona which were held August 30 - September 2, 2015.

The APWA Public Works Projects of the Year awards are presented annually to promote excellence in the management and administration of public works projects, recognizing the alliance between the managing agency, contractor, consultant and their cooperative achievements. This year, APWA selected projects in five categories: Disaster/Emergency, Environment, Historical Restoration, Structures and Transportation.

Awarded one of the two APWA 2015 Projects of the Year in the Disaster/Emergency Construction Repair at a cost less than $5 million dollars, the Kelley Stand Road (KSR) is a four-mile stretch that includes two bridge structures, all of which received extensive damage.

In August, 2011, torrential rains of Tropical Storm Irene flooded the Green Mountains of southern and central Vermont. Many roads and bridges were ruined leaving many communities isolated. In Sunderland, VT, the damage made it inaccessible between the communities of Sunderland and Stratton and no longer allowed recreational access to the Green Mountain National Forest (GMNF). As a result, Sunderland officially closed the road. Fortunately, because KSR provides access to the GMNF, the damages qualified for repair under the Emergency Relief for Federally Owned Roads (ERFO) program and through a collaborative agreement between GMNF and Sunderland, funding was put in place for design and reconstruction of the roadway facility.

Construction on Kelley Stand road began on September 25, 2013. The project team started the emergency reconstruction in 32 distinct sites on Kelley Stand Road along with minor repairs and resurfacing along the entire project corridor. They worked all year long amid horrible weather conditions, lack of availability of material, manufacturing of project bridge elements, the restrictive in-steam work windows and the narrow project corridor. Because of this, the project had to be carefully planned and coordinated well to allow for advancement while not outpacing the potential restrictions.

The project design incorporated rock cross vanes through areas of the Roaring Branch Brook that were susceptible to erosion forces during storm events. The stream structures were constructed of massive rocks from the project site to provide stability to Roaring Branch streambed and to relieve stresses on the stream banks during high flow events. Such structures were designed to add resiliency to the transportation infrastructure, improve stream health and aquatic organism habitat.

This project integrated the engineering and accomplishments with a community’s need by delivering an emergency response project on a strict schedule. Many of those who helped to reconstruct Kelley Stand Road such as the design team took on additional tasks that were not included in the initial plan. As a result, Kelley Stand Road was officially reopened to the public on September 15, 2014.

For more information on the APWA 2015 Projects of the Year, please contact APWA Media Relations/Communications Manager, Laura Bynum,, or call 202.218.6736.