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Oxford County still examining Irene damage
ANDOVER NORTH SURPLUS -- The extent of damage from Tropical Storm Irene is still being seen as Oxford County surveys destruction in the unorganized territories.
County Administrator Scott Cole said East B Hill Road, which connects Andover and Upton, is “severely damaged” and that part of the travel lane washed out as a result of heavy rain on Aug. 28 into the next day.
According to a memo Cole sent to county commissioners, the road was posted “closed” on Aug. 28, but people have been driving around the barriers. That night, a woman from Vermont got stuck and had to abandon her car and walk back to Upton, Cole said.
Nearly a mile of the five-mile stretch connecting the two towns has part of a lane washed away, Cole said. Those five miles are in unorganized territory and are the county's responsibility. In the unorganized territories, the county acts as the municipality and is responsible for the upkeep of roads.
He said Steve Swasey, who is contracted by the county for road work in the unorganized territories, has cleared rocks and debris from the roadway, but much remains to be done to make the road safe for travel in both directions.
“It's going to be an expensive project” to fix, Cole said Wednesday.
“It's closed, but it will be passable in a couple of days.” He said immediate work will be a short-term fix and the major work needed might have to wait until next spring.
The county is hoping to receive federal money, he said. If that doesn't happen, the county must find a way to budget it from the unorganized territory fund. The project will probably go to bid, Cole said.
He said permanent signs are on order reading “narrow road” and “road construction ahead.”
According to Cole, East B Hill Road is the worst-affected road in the unorganized territories of the county. Most had little or no damage, he said.