(More photos by Victor Salvo, who made his way to Bethel, Vermont and the surrounding area last week. After a quick stop here to download images, Vic is on his way back to Florida to continue his work to rebuild a school in earthquake-ravaged Haiti. You can learn more about his Haiti project HERE.
Vic will also be continuing his work as a photographer, trying to make a living. You can check out [and buy] some his images HERE.)
In some floods, the water rises steadily, spreading further afield, into the fields, progressing day by day toward doorsteps and roads. During Tropical Storm Irene, heavy rain fell quickly, running down Vermont’s steep hillsides, collecting in and crashing through her valleys with tremendous force. The flooding triggered by Irene was more like a series of muddy, debris-strewn, miles-long avalanches that roared downhill like out of control freight trains.
This bridge outside Bethel sits high above the river and survived the flood, allowing heavy equipment traffic, like the cement mixer above, to move ahead with clean-up and reconstruction. To get an idea of the magnitude of the wall of water that came through, look at the girders on the underside of the bridge:
Sizeable chunks of trees and other debris are woven into the steel framework more than twenty feet above the river bed.
Other bridges were completely over-topped, left with twisted steel and broken concrete littering their decks.
The clean up is ongoing and recovery in some places will be slow, but in the midst of the wreckage, hard-hit Bethel is coming back. Like so much of Vermont in the aftermath of Irene, Bethel is Open for Business.