2017-11-08 / Front Page

Storm damage estimates still pouring in

By Dee Menear Irregular Staff Writer


Due to raging floodwaters, the bridge that crosses the Carrabassett River to Ted Jones’ house was underwater during last week’s storm but it was not washed away. (Dee Menear photo) Due to raging floodwaters, the bridge that crosses the Carrabassett River to Ted Jones’ house was underwater during last week’s storm but it was not washed away. (Dee Menear photo) NORTHERN FRANKLIN COUNTY — A full week after a significant rain and wind storm swept through the area, many towns in Northern Franklin County were still busy assessing damage caused by flooding. In addition to several inches of rain dumping in already swollen waterways, heavy winds toppled trees and caused widespread, prolonged outages.

At the peak, well over 400,000 Central Maine Power customers were without power, some for several days. Thanks to an influx of out-of-state linemen and a State of Emergency proclamation set forth by Governor Paul LePage that allowed crews to work extended hours, that number was cut to less than 6,000 statewide by Monday, Nov. 6. In Franklin County, all but a handful of Rangeley customers had their power restored as The Original Irregular went to press.


West Kingfield Road suffered significant damage due to severe flooding of Rapid Stream. (Dee Menear photo) West Kingfield Road suffered significant damage due to severe flooding of Rapid Stream. (Dee Menear photo) Monday, Tim Hardy, Franklin County Emergency Management Director was compiling rough estimates of damage from municipalities throughout the county. Once the data is compiled, Hardy said he would turn the information over to the Maine Emergency Management Agency to see if damage thresholds had been met for a Federal Disaster Declaration for Public Assistance. The state-wide threshold for this declaration is $1.9 million and each county must meet a threshold, which is based on population.

Repair work is underway in Carrabassett Valley, where flooding significantly damaged roads and recreational trails. A Special Town Meeting will be held Tuesday, Nov. 14 at 6 p.m. at the Town Office to see if voters are in favor of expending up to $90,000 to begin repairing the Narrow Gauge Pathway and potentially replace the Campbell Field Bridge. Selectmen already approved spending $15,000 for road repairs.

Carrabassett Valley Sanitary District Superintendent Dave Keith said Route 27 flooding put the Wastewater Pumping Station project behind by three days. “It cost us time and aggravation but there was no damage and nothing that needed to be reported to DEP,” said Keith.

When a culvert at the Bigelow Station Bridge was blocked by a snowmobile bridge that had washed away, water dumped over Route 27 and threatened the project, which will replace the old station. “When we designed the new station, we made sure it was high enough in elevation,” explained Keith. The old pump was within one foot of flooding while the new pump station was within two feet of flooding, he explained.

At this point, the new project is a concrete shell and no equipment was in place, said Keith. “We were very lucky. All we took in was silt and leaves,” reported Keith.

Strong Road Commissioner and Fire Chief Duane Boyd said the Strong Fire Department spent much of Monday, Oct. 27 cutting trees and directing traffic. Strong roads fared well, though. “Any damage we had was repaired by Tuesday with a couple truckloads of gravel,” he stated.

In a press release dated Friday, Nov. 3, Acting MEMA Director Peter Rogers said, “The safety of the people of Maine has been the primary focus during the response and recovery process from Wind Storm 2017. We’re pleased to report no fatalities and no major injuries.”

“There are so many people to thank that I can’t possibly name them all,” said Rogers. “I’ll just say one big thank you to all involved. It has truly been a collaborative effort. We know it’s not over, but things have improved vastly since Monday and everyone is doing all they can to get life back to normal across Maine.”

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