Temporary fix for Swain Road scuttled for more research

RUMFORD — Residents of town streets damaged by Tropical Storm Irene's heavy rainfall on Sunday must wait until next week for possible relief.

Terry Karkos/Sun Journal

Holyoke Avenue resident Kim Cocca of Rumford, tells selectmen Thursday night that they need to approve temporarily fixing town roads damaged Sunday by flooding from Tropical Storm Irene's rains, so that affected people like herself don't get stranded if another heavy rainstorm hits and wipes out more of the roads.

Selectmen Jeremy Volkernick's attempt Thursday night to have the town highway crew reinstall the blown-out culverts on Swain Road as a temporary fix, died for lack of a second from Selectmen Jeff Sterling or Jolene Lovejoy or Brad Adley.

Chairman Greg Buccina was absent, so Vice Chairman Sterling ran the meeting.

To get a temporary fix installed to alleviate inconvenienced taxpayers, Volkernick motioned that selectmen declare a critical circumstance exists.

That failed, because Sterling, Lovejoy and Adley said they wanted to wait until next week for Public Works Superintendent Andy Russell to gather information about installing a box culvert.

To do that, however, Russell said a hydrology study must be done to determine what size box culvert will handle potential flows.

Rumford's charter then requires such a project to go out to bid, which would take weeks.

“Yes, people are inconvenienced, but that's what disasters do,” Lovejoy said, while sympathizing with several residents in the audience who are adversely affected by the damage.

“Don't think we're dragging our butts, we need to do this right,” she said.

Town Manager Carlo Puiia said that if the two culverts are reinstalled and fill added, but pavement is not placed on top of it, the same thing could happen again.

Russell said the town crew could do the temporary fix that Volkernick wanted done in three to four days, but getting the section paved could take a while depending on their suppliers' availability.

Worries were expressed about more heavy rains hitting the area in less than two weeks.

Holyoke Avenue resident Kim Cocca wanted a temporary fix.

“If we get more rain, what's going to happen?” she asked. “Are we going to get stranded?”

Another resident said the town may have to wait two to three weeks for paving. He urged that selectmen approve a temporary fix.

“I'd be pretty irate if I lived on the other side of that brook,” the man said.

Due to the flooding damage, residents who live on upper Swain Road must travel around Isthmus Road to reach town rather than drive down Swain Road to Spruce Street. Emergency responders, likewise, must do the same to reach those residents.

The board decided to take up the matter again ahead of next week's wind ordinance workshop, which will be held at 6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 7, in Rumford Falls Auditorium.

tkarkos@sunjournal.com

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Comments

 's picture

Congratulations

The voters of Rumford need to be congratulated for being stupid enough to re-electing Jolene Lovejoy. She didn't have a clue when she was on the previous board and she has already made a fool of herself at the last two meetings. If you cant make an intelligent statement at a meeting then don't say anything.

Done Right

If the fix was done right ,by the towns public works director, the first time at bottom of Maine Ave. this area might not have been damaged this time around. Wrong decisions and short cuts will always be made with this type of direction.

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