FARMINGTON – Selectmen Tuesday night unanimously approved a warrant for a special town meeting to appropriate funds for repairs to a corroded drainpipe that caused two sinkholes to appear in town.

The warrant article asks voters to let the town appropriate a sum not exceeding $250,000 from the undesignated fund balance to replace the pipe.

The pipe failure became apparent when two sinkholes appeared on Broadway over the course of four days in July following a heavy rainstorm.

After investigating the first 9-foot-deep hole, Public Works Director Mitch Boulette discovered the 19-year-old, 30-inch-in-diameter aluminum pipe had corroded to the point of disintegration, in some places, allowing water to seep out.

A video camera was sent into the drain pipe to see how extensive the problem was and found a large section of pipe running from the old North Church on High Street all the way to the edge of the Narrow Gauge Cinema parking lot to be failing. Because town officials feared more sinkholes could open underneath cars driving over the pipe, the section of road over the pipe was closed to traffic.

Selectmen Tuesday decided to replace about 1,500 feet of 30-inch aluminum pipe with a 30-inch plastic pipe, said to be more durable than aluminum. The special town meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Aug. 22. It will be held downstairs in the Municipal Building.


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