RUMFORD — After about three weeks of work by the Public Works crew, most of the damage to local roads from Tropical Storm Irene has been repaired, but not paved.
That's the next step after town officials meet Monday, Sept. 19, with a representative from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Andy Russell, Public Works superintendent, said Thursday afternoon.
“We're done right now as far as temporary repairs and filling them in,” Russell said. There was more than $300,000 damage from flooding due to Irene's 6-inch rainfall in just a few hours Aug. 28.
“The estimate we're giving FEMA is over $300,000. Of course, keep in mind those are at FEMA prices, so it's a little generous compared to what we're paying ourselves.”
With the exception of the Swain Road bridge washout, other severely eroded areas have been repaired on Swain, Isthmus, Beliveau, Eaton Hill and Glover roads.
Russell said the crew was repairing damage on the Milton Road on Thursday, but he didn't think they'd done Kimball Road's culvert damage.
“We haven't had time to pave yet,” he said. “We need to let them compact a little first.”
As for the Bean Brook bridge washout that's been spanned temporarily with Jim Nicols' logging bridge, a new culvert design is in the works.
Russell said Main-Land Development Consultants of Livermore Falls is designing a type of box culvert to better accommodate high water from heavy rainfall.
It's “for what they deem we should need to contain a storm like that,” he said.
“It's a pretty big structure at this point, but I need to talk to them and get more of an idea what's going on with it.”
“They will design it, and then we've got to bid it out and install it once it's made,” Russell said.
Several large plastic culverts laying along Swain Road near the washout were the ones that Irene's flooding blew out and deposited downstream on a resident's property.
“We just pulled them up from the guy's backyard the other day, but we've still got one more down over there that we've got to get,” he said.
Now that President Barak Obama has signed a disaster declaration for Maine recognizing Irene's damage, federal aid is available to help fund repairs to Rumford's roads.
“All that does is allow us to retrieve 90 percent of the cost, you know, 75 percent from the feds and 15 percent from the state, and as for the rest, we'll have to pick up the other 10 percent,” Russell said.
He said he and fire Chief Bob Chase and Deputy Chief Richard Coulombe will meet with a FEMA representative on Monday to fill out a request for public assistance.
“Once we sign that, they'll hopefully send us a check before too long, but you never know,” he said.
Should the check come, it would be deposited into a revenue account.
“I actually don't get it until the end of the year when I need it,” Russell said.
“I actually have to overdraw my account to get it. The way I understand it, I don't get it until later on when my account is overdrawn.”
The FEMA money will only be paid if the crew puts the roads back the way they were before Irene blew into town.
However, because he wants to prevent another flooding disaster at the Bean Brook bridge on Swain Road, Russell said he doesn't want to reinstall the multiple culverts.
Instead, he said he will ask to mediate that spot for a box culvert to see if the feds will contribute anything toward it.