PARIS – Teams from the state and federal emergency management agencies will be in Oxford County on Wednesday to assess damage caused by the recent heavy rains that washed out roads and at least one bridge.

Scott Parker, director of the Oxford County Emergency Management Agency, said the county has exceeded its threshold of $150,000 in damage for a declaration. “Our draft numbers are over $220,000,” Parker said Monday. He noted the Rumford bridge damage alone was estimated at $500,000.

The bridge on South Rumford Road was washed out during heavy rains in late June. Substantial storm-related damage in Oxford County was found in eight towns including Norway, Greenwood, Woodstock and Rumford and some organized territories, but none shown in Paris or Oxford, Parker said. The majority of the damage was in the northern part of the county, except for Norway, which he surmises hit the tail end of several storms.

Norway had $21,000 in damage, mostly to the Shedd Road, which washed out three times. The state has expanded the amount of time allowed to include damage. The period of assessment is between June 19 and July 5 when the last storm blew through Friday and Saturday nights, Parker said.

Although there was a lot of damage on unpaved roads throughout the county, Parker said the damage was significant in some towns because it occurred mostly on paved roads, which are more expensive to repair. He said the problem was that the roads “maxed out,” and the culverts were unable to take any more of the water that not only ran down the streets but rose from abutting private property and onto the streets.

With the combination of multiple days of rain coupled with a very high volume of rain for a short period of time, and then more rain every day, Parker said the roads simply couldn’t recover.

The problem was the amount of water in culverts along side roads and the ditches, Parker explained. “The roads were not necessarily ditched for this type of water,” he said.

Parker said because of the excessive amount of water this year and last, the state and towns need to take a harder look at how roads are repaired.

“We’re learning about things we had not anticipated. The difference is the very high volume of water in a very short time,” he said.
The teams from MEMA and FEMA will meet at the Oxford County Emergency Management Agency headquarters in Paris on Wednesday morning for a briefing before heading out to assess the damage, Parker said.

[email protected]

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.