SHERMAN — A section of Route 37 has closed for several weeks as emergency repairs are made to reinforce the roadside near Quaker Brook.

The closure — just north of Big Trail, near the town line with New Fairfield — began late last week.

“These road repairs are the result of washout conditions threatening the road’s structure and strength,” said Sherman First Selectman Don Lowe. “They are critical for drivers’ safety.”

The project will build a new stone slope along Route 37 to stabilize the road after the slope eroded from all of the rain this summer.

Motorists are encouraged to use Route 39 between Sherman and New Fairfield. Local traffic is available north of Durgy Lane and south of Big Trail. Signs will be posted to show detours.

This work is being completed through an “emergency declaration,” which lets the state Department of Transportation immediately bring in the necessary assets to protect motorists and the road itself, said Kevin Nursick, a DOT spokesman

“Typically we go through a design and contractor procurement process that involves some amount of time as part of our overall, routine construction program,” Nursick said. “But rarely, something unexpected like this can pop up, and we need to act fast to protect the infrastructure and the public.”

It is expected to cost $245,000, which was awarded to Waters Construction Company on Aug. 17, Nursick said.

The work will most likely affect 15 to 20 families who live in the area and have children who attend Sherman School or are bused to a nearby high school.

“When closing a state road, there’s no easy way around it,” said Andy Schoefer, assistant principal at Sherman School.

He said parents have two options for alternate bus stops. If they live close enough, they may be able to use a walking path that connects to Durgy Lane where a stop is located.

The other way is to take Hardscrabble Road into New York where the road becomes Tower Hill Road. Parents should then turn right at the end of the road onto South Quaker Hill Road, which goes back into Sherman and becomes Chapel Hill Road. The stop is located on Orange Pepper Road just past that.

“That’s where the closest bus stop will be," Schoefer said.

He drove the route and said it takes about 8 minutes by car. He added that buses can’t do this run themselves though because they aren’t allowed to drive on dirt roads and some of these roads are narrow.

Schoefer warned parents that the closure could be two to four weeks long, based on what the DOT crews encounter.

”It’s not ideal but it had to be done,” he said.

Lowe said the mail carriers are aware and will use alternative routes for Big Trail and Hardscrabble Road. The volunteer fire department also has a plan for service emergencies there.