Temporary fix in place after rig flattens hydrant

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RUMFORD – The hydrant is gone, but virtually all sections of Bridge and Franklin streets had been cleaned up by noon on Thursday.

The scene was a whole lot different than Wednesday when a tractor-trailer truck struck the hydrant, at the entrance to the information center parking lot, causing thousands of gallons of water to flood a portion of the two streets and flow into the Androscoggin River.

Public works crews worked Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning to get everything cleaned up. Now, work must begin on repairing some of the granite sidewalk curbs and repaving a 450-foot section of road between Bridge Street and Rumford Avenue.

Public works Director Andy Russell was working on cost estimates for the work Thursday afternoon. He’s not sure what those costs will be, but he said the department will likely begin work on the project during the middle of May.

First, they must devote the next two weeks to the annual town-wide clean-up. He said the public works crew will repair the granite curbs for the sidewalks, and do the prep work for paving before contractors do the paving.

Police Chief Stacy Carter estimated the costs of damage and labor by the various emergency departments and public works crew at about $100,000 on Wednesday.

Water District Superintendent Brian Gagnon said the hydrant will likely be replaced sometime next week. He hadn’t tallied the cost as of late Thursday afternoon.

He said the hydrant will be moved about 10 feet from its former location so it would be less likely to be hit again. That same hydrant was run over by another truck trying to turn around in February, and again in the 1970s, said Gagnon.

He said only five businesses lost water for a few hours on Wednesday. Many others, however, experienced brown water, including Rumford Hospital. The hospital is continuing to use bottled water and alcohol hand-washes until labs tests come back on Friday, said Gagnon.

The hydrant was taken out by a 2003 Freightliner owned by Transport Besner Trucking Co., of St. Nicholas, Quebec, driven by Yaw Kusi of Ontario, Canada, at about 10 a.m. Wednesday morning.

Russell and Gagnon have not determined whether the damages will be covered by the trucking company’s insurance.

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