Repairs Urgent in Vermont

Toby Talbot / AP

In this aerial photo people gather alongside workers making repairs Tuesday, Aug. 30, 2011 on Route 100 in Killington, Vt., washed out by flood waters from Tropical Storm Irene on Sunday. Vermont Emergency Management officials say they'll use helicopters to airlift food, water and supplies to flood-stricken towns that have been cut off by road and bridge washouts stemming from flooding due to remnants of Hurricane Irene.

Vermont's recovery was daunting enough, but winter gives it special urgency. The state has only two and a half months to repair hundreds of roads and dozens of bridges that were washed away by Hurricane Irene before winter sets in and makes work impossible. Many of the roads ran alongside rivers, and large stretches of them are completely destroyed. They must be fixed before equipment can be brought in to repair homes and infrastructure. In the meantime, residents have cut their own roads through fields, and state workers have laid down temporary gravel roads to reach cut-off towns.