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The Valley Reporter
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Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Irene plus 1 - Hancock, Granville and Rochester roadwork almost completed

The ravages of Irene on Hancock, Granville and Rochester roads are almost complete. The storm did major damage to major town roads in the White River Valley, some of which has been repaired, some of which is currently under construction and some of which faces an uncertain future.

Cheryl Sergeant, chair of the Granville Select Board, said that Buffalo Farm Road is still closed due to three slides and said that the town is awaiting (and has been awaiting for many weeks) an engineering report on a proposed fix.

The report is so late, she said, that the town had to request an extension from FEMA.

“We still have no idea what our options are going to be to fix it and have no idea of the cost and we don’t know how it will be funded and if voters are going to want to fix it,” Sergeant said.

Buffalo Farm Road runs east from Route 100 in Granville and connects to North Hollow Road. Right now residents have access above and below the closed sections of the road.

“We don’t know what the delay is in getting that report to us, but we do know that nothing is going to happen on that road this year,” she said.

Granville has three properties that are waiting for FEMA buyout decisions and the town took out a line of credit to cover road repair and other costs associated with the flooding. In Granville, the town will ring the bell at the town complex at 7 p.m. on August 28 to commemorate the storm and flooding.

In Hancock, select board chair Jack Ross said that the upper part of Churchville Road, which runs from Route 100 to Fiske Road, had been re-opened last weekend but was closed this week so that the bridge at the bottom of the road could be fixed. Churchville Road suffered extreme damage during Irene, along with TexasFalls roads and others Hancock roads. Repairs to Churchville Road alone cost over $750,000, Ross said.

And while the town received FEMA funding for some of the repairs, there were other repairs that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers required the town to undertake that cost the town $115,000. That is a significant sum for a town where the municipal budget is about $300,000, according to Ross. The town is currently out of pocket $300,000 for flood repairs pending state and federal reimbursement.

Hancock residents will commemorate the storm and flood with a community cookout on September 2 at the Hancock Firehouse from 5 to 7 p.m.

In Rochester repairs to Fiske Road are about two weeks away, according to select board chair Larry Straus. Because of the damage to Fiske Road and Churchville Road, Hancock and Rochester worked with Granville last fall to upgrade a portion of a Class 4 road to provide a detour around the connected and closed Fiske and Churchville Roads.

Straus said that the Fiske Road work was covered by FEMA and cost $130,000.

Rochester’s out-of-pocket costs from the flood, based on the formula approved by the Legislature, is 3 cents on the town Grand List, or about $47,000.

With Fiske Road work under way, Straus said the town was turning to its other projects including repair of the town cemetery, which washed away, littering the road and riverbanks with caskets and remains during the storm.

In Rochester, there are five or six homes that may be eligible for FEMA buyouts.