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Moretown waiting for FEMA disaster declaration

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08/21/2008

By Kara Herlihy

Following extensive flood damage to several of Moretown's Class III and Class IV roads, select board members discussed plans for repairs, which could cost up to $500,000.

At its August 18 meeting the select board received updates on federal disaster relief funding and engineering recommendations for the roads.

FEMA has yet to declare the area a disaster zone, which is required before any federal money is granted towards the road repairs.

SINCE THE FLOODING

Select board members Rae Washburn and Stephanie Venema gave an update on the repair progress and the meetings they have attended since the flooding. Venema said they had met with representatives from the Agency of Transportation (AOT) and FEMA.

The town has hired Knight Engineering, whom Venema said were "not your average engineers," and who have been "going above and beyond" just fixing the roads. Venema said the town was "extremely lucky to get them."

Representatives from FEMA and the Vermont Agency of Transportation have made visits to Dickerson Road, Moretown Mountain Road and Jones Brook Road and expect to have their reports back shortly.

START NEXT WEEK

"If everything goes well, Granfield Excavating will start next week," Venema said. She added that Knight Engineering recommended repairing all of Dickerson Road at once (which already has some grant funding designated for repairs) instead of in sections.

"It would be cost prohibitive to do it in sections," she said. Venema added that, as a point person on the road project, deciding to repair the entire road was "an agonizing decision" and will cost "really big bucks."

Washburn agreed with Venema and said that the side of the road that has caved in will come at an increased cost. Washburn affirmed that the town's goal is to make the damaged roads "safe and passable."

ROADS ARE SAFE

FEMA funding will reimburse the town up to the point that the roads are safe, and for no more, according to Washburn.

Venema added that the now one-lane road connecting Moretown to Northfield will soon open to two-lane traffic in the coming days.


INCLUDING GRAVEL

The designated repairs come at the recommendation of the AOT, who suggested hiring the engineers for the repairs.

Per a recommendation from the Emergency Management Service, Venema assured members of the board that everything has been well documented thus far, and will continue to be until the project's completion. Rebuilding would involve the replacement of several culverts, and gathering the necessary materials including gravel.

The town estimates that the damage inflicted on the roads as a result of the multiple landslides could reach as high as $500,000. The town currently has no funding set aside for emergencies of this nature, according to Venema.

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