Eight feet down, workers uncover original street

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RUMFORD — Construction workers replacing sewer pipes and waterlines on The Island business district have uncovered remnants of a street believed to have been washed out in the 1936 flood of the Androscoggin River.

“We said we wouldn’t know what we’d uncover until we uncovered it, but I don’t think anyone expected this,” Town Manager Linda-Jean Briggs said.

Workers of Sargent Corp. of Bangor made the discovery last week when digging in the area of Hartford and River streets.

Remnants of a street washed out in the Androscoggin River flood in 1936 are uncovered by construction workers in the area of Hartford and River streets in Rumford. (Bruce Farrin/Rumford Falls Times)

Gary Violette, the on-site inspector, said he asked around and learned that, “Apparently, the flood of ’36 wiped that whole side of The Island right out. So that’s probably why they built it up, which is why pipes ended up about 8 feet below normal bury.”

He said the discovery will not slow the $5.42 million project, which includes replacing sewer and stormwater systems, waterlines and sidewalks this summer.

“We’re rolling now, he said. “We’re running pipe down River Street and Hartford Street. We’re got the temporary water on those two streets, so now we can rip and tear.”

Work will continue this week in the same area.

“We’ll put the sewer in first because it’s deepest, then the underdrain and water main will go in,” Violette said.

There will also be no change this week in the traffic pattern in the downtown.

Violette said he was told by Police chief Stacy Carter that he has not yet received a call regarding traffic issues due to the construction.

“It’s rough through there, but that’s good because it slows the vehicles down for the workers,” he noted.

Violette said construction workers are now getting settled in.

“I get a good feeling from the contractor and everybody’s got a good attitude. Everybody seems to be getting along good. I think as we get rolling here, we’re going to get going pretty good.”

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