BENNINGTON, Vt. -- The estimated cost of the northern leg of the Bennington bypass has doubled from a year ago.
The Agency of Transportation's new estimate for construction of the northern leg is $99.7 million, up more than $50 million from the original projection.
"I can't conceive of a project increasing so rapidly in one year without turning a single shovel," said Representative Frank Mazur, a Republican from South Burlington, the chairman of the House Transportation Committee.
The bypass is planned as a three-quarter ring around Bennington, broken only by Mount Anthony in the southwestern corner of town. The northern leg would connect US Route 7 north of Bennington to Vermont Route 9 east of Bennington and is expected to be completed by 2010.
Four bridges and two interchanges will be included in the northern-leg construction.
Jason Gibbs, a spokesman for Governor James Douglas, said the governor is perplexed by the increase and is investigating. Patricia McDonald, secretary of transportation, said the new estimate contains a much more detailed account of the cost.