Water sprays off a truck travelling through flooded route 26, where it intersects Parkway Road. in Bethel. Rose Lincoln

Fiona Keough, and Eva Contis, canoe on Gould Academy’s lower flooded fields following 36 hours of rain. Rose Lincoln

Water ripples across Walkers Mills Road (route 26), where it intersects Parkway Road. Rose Lincoln

As Central Maine Power workers fixed electrical lines on route 26, vehicles were forced to take a detour to Sunset then Intervale Road where more there was more flooding. SAD 44 schools had early release. Rose Lincoln

Baker Road off Songo Pond Road was water-logged due to heavy rains. Rose Lincoln

Marc Mullen of Newry, left, and Basil Lee, of Albany race beside a completely flooded field on Vernon Street after early release from school. She is the daughter of his best friend, Lauren Beatrice. Rose Lincoln

BETHEL — Maine Department of Transportation (DOT) workers, along with local highway workers and firefighters spent Monday morning and much of the beginning of the week dealing with flooding from a rainstorm that dropped a month’s worth of rain, between 3 and 5 inches, in 36 hours in the Bethel area.

Town Office closed at Noon on Monday. On the Town of Bethel site, this message came up, “Notice: The Bethel Town Office is closed due to the releasing of the dam in Berlin. Please note closed roads and use caution!” Town Manager,Natalie Andrews, said she called Public Works Director Scott Sumner and Emergency Management Coordinator and Fire Chief Mike Jodrey for guidance in making the decision.

Sumner told her eight roads were closed. (Oxford County reported 80 closures). “My primary concern was the safety and welfare of staff and also people in town because it was also tax day … and I don’t want people trying to get to the town office to pay their taxes and going on the roads that are hazardous.” Andrews said she also is mindful of what the schools are doing.

SAD 44 school children were released at 11:30 a.m., “due to the anticipated worsening of road conditions and the lack of information regarding the possible opening of a dam in Berlin,” said Superintendent David Murphy in his automated message to parents. The dam is along the Androscoggin River in Berlin, NH.

In Newry, rescue crews assisted passengers in two cars caught in floodwaters on Route 26 just after noon. One car alone held six people, according to Newry Fire Chief Alan Fleet.

On Monday morning, workers from Central Maine Power repaired downed lines on Walker’s Mills Road, (Route 26). Traffic was detoured onto Sunset Road and Intervale Road then back to 26. The detour was flooded and motorists had to jockey around a few feet of water on the roadway to pass each other.


At about 11:30 a.m. DOT workers on Walkers Mills Road near the Parkway Road intersection said the Shelburne Dam was open and more water could be expected across that stretch.

However at 12:16 pm, an Oxford County Regional Communications Center member wrote on Facebook, “Per Brookfield Power they have lowered the gate some on the Shelburne Dam, however have not released or intend to release it in the immediate future – and there is no need for immediate concern at this time – just to put rumors at rest.”

At about 4:30 p.m. the water had risen considerably and many motorists were making U-turns or taking alternate routes around Route 26 at Parkway Road.

In Bethel, the fields on Vernon Street and the lower field at Valentine Farm were dramatically flooded, as was Davis Park. The Big Adventure at the intersection of Mayville Rd and North Road was underwater, too. North Road, the Flat Road, Songo Pond Road, and Hunt’s Corner area were just some of the other waterlogged areas.

On Facebook people wrote messages to help others find safe detours as they navigated the roads. Others had flooded basements and animals in peril. The Andy League with players in the greater Bethel area cancelled their 6pm baseball and softball games on Monday and weren’t sure about Tuesday, said Nate Crooker.

Bethel’s Lainey Cross offered comic relief reporting the weather and the status of Vernon Street. “Once again we have acquired some lakefront property,” she said while standing in the rain in a hooded raincoat.

In Gould Academy’s flooded lower soccer field, several students were canoeing some taking photos of  the cows who had walked down through their pasture to watch them.


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