FARMINGTON — It’s done, Farmington Board of Selectmen Chair Ryan Morgan voiced Tuesday during a special meeting held to award a bid for the Whittier Road-Sandy River bank stabilization project.

“This is a momentous meeting that’s long overdue,” he said. “There’s been a lot of work put into it.”

Two years ago this month, Tropical Storm Irene started an erosion issue that has threatened collapse of a portion of the Whittier Road.

“We only received one bid,” Town Manager Richard Davis told the board. “The good news is  it’s a local contractor that we all know and the bid is reasonable.”

The board unanimously agreed to accept a bid from E.L. Vining & Sons, Inc. of Farmington for $258,947 with option items totaling $84,369.

Option items include the potential need for extra stone or clay removal if the bank collapses when the work begins, he explained.

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The total project costs, according to a memo prepared by Davis, are $452,072.05. 

“The amount of Federal Emergency Management Agency funding available is $297,418. That leaves a local match of $154,654.05. The town has already committed $108,755.90 for the environmental consultant, engineering, and U.S. Forest Service design work and Biological Assessment,” he wrote. “That leaves $45,898 in additional local match still to be met. This can be provided through in-kind contribution of rock, trucking, etc.”

The town will also be responsible for ongoing maintenance of the riverbank, including any erosion issues and ensuring grass and trees on the bank survive, he said.

After a couple years, the design of trees and root wads is expected to collect sediment and debris from the river extending the project out into the stream, Davis explained when asked about the life span of the proposed project.

Across the river from the erosion, the town has started to dredge sand for next winter’s road needs which will also encourage the river to re-route and move away from the banking, he added.

This year’s budget for the Public Works Department could be “very close at the end of the year because of these unforeseen expenses,” Davis said.

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“There is a 15-percent overdraft allowance in the law due to the unpredictable nature of public works operations,” he said about the potential for the department going over budget.

Selectman Andrew Hufnagel thanked both Davis and Denis Castonguay, public works director, for their work on the project.

“You handled it diplomatically,” he said.

The project will necessitate the closing of that portion of Whittier Road during the work, Castonguay told the board. With school about to re-open, alternate routes to the high school from Route 156 will need to be found during the work period. 

School buses stopped using the road last year when the town posted weight limits and limited traffic to one lane near the erosion site.

abryant@sunjournal.com


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