Tami and Gerry Allaire are facing an extra 15 to 20 miles to get to work each day for an undetermined length of time thanks to the past weekend’s heavy rainfall.
The couple, who live about 2 miles from the washed-out Thurston Brook Bridge along South Rumford Road hiked from their home to the bridge to take a look Monday morning.
“We’ve been here for 10 years,” Gerry Allaire said. “I’ve never seen such heavy rain. We have a metal roof and the noise was unreal.”
The Allaires were among dozens of people who will be traveling farther because of the washed-out bridge.
Rick Jeselskis, superintendent of operations for the Maine Department of Transportation who was inspecting several sites hit by heavy rain, said at the bridge that the department had three options: a temporary bridge could be installed, a total replacement could be built, or the existing bridge could be replaced by a precast culvert. He said the department should make its decision within five days.
Much of South Rumford Road is open only to local traffic. Motorists must take Martin Road, Whipporwill Road or Route 5 while the bridge is being replaced.
Three MDOT crews were working in the Rumford area Monday, said Bob Carter, MDOT transportation operations manager who was among the crew at the Andover Road site. Water from an unnamed brook a few hundred feet from the intersection with Rumford Center washed out huge sections of the road during the weekend.
Joe White, foreman of MDOT Region 3 in Dixfield, said he expected the road to be reopened by the end of Monday.
The road washed out just before a major structure fire was reported a couple of hundred feet from the damage. Rumford Deputy Fire Chief Ben Byam said fire engines were able to get to the site.
A section of Route 232 also sustained water damage requiring an MDOT crew, Carter said, but that road was not closed.
Byam said several Rumford homes had water in their cellars.
In Mexico, the curbing and most of the hot top on Penley Hill Road was removed under the force of water, fire Chief Gary Wentzell said. He said the town had finished a repaving job, for the second time, just two weeks ago. Portions of Roxbury Road near Porter Bridge Road also sustained plugged culverts.
Several small Greenwood roads sustained some damage, said Oxford County Emergency Management Director Scott Parker.
Emergency directors from each town have 72 hours to sort through damages and file them with the Oxford County agency. Then each county provides its list of storm-caused damages to the Maine Emergency Management Agency. If the total amount of damage reaches $1.5 million, a request will be made to the governor to make a declaration of disaster.
Parker said he did not believe damages would come in at that amount.
“This was a localized event,” he said.

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Gerry and Tami Allaire take photos at the washout of the bridge spanning Thurston Brook along the South Rumford Road Monday morning. They live about 2 miles below the washout and now must drive about 15 miles to get to their jobs in Rumford. A Maine Department of Transportation spokesman said a decision on what to do about replacing the bridge should be made in a few days. Rick Jeselskis, superintendent of operations for the MDOT, said the options are a temporary bridge, a total replacement or a precast culvert


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