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Sugarbush access road work nearing completion

Work on the Sugarbush Access Road may be coming to a close - finally.

Culverts along the Sugarbush Access Road are scheduled to be paved this week, according to Warren Department of Public Works director Barry Simpson who updated town officials on the progress of the project at the October 26 select board meeting.

Simpson said the project that started on August 4 is "close to completion." The project was originally slated to be completed by the end of August. Now that it is almost done, town officials are concerned about the quality of the paving done this summer and are also planning for totally repaving the road.

Warren Select Board chair Andy Cunningham asked Road Foreman Ray Weston for his opinion of the paving completed along the side of the Sugarbush Access Road that G.W. Tatro was responsible for repairing.

Weston said, "It's hard to make it smooth by hand. It's low in places and high in places. We've had rainy and cold weather. It's going to fall apart."

When asked how long he thought the pavement would hold up into the winter, Weston said, "The first time it freezes and warms up it's going to come up."

Greg Tatro, owner of the construction company, said he thought the town was overreacting and said the pavement would not come up after the first freeze. In a phone interview on October 27, he said that when paving past where a trench has been dug, the end result would not be a machine texture.

"We repaved what we damaged and that's what was in the bid specs. I think there was a little bit of confusion from the town before the job started as to what was in the specs," Tatro added.

At the previous meeting, town officials discussed the road crew's concerns about paving the road after it was torn up this summer and left uneven in places. Select board member Kristen Reilly said that the culvert project was completed in preparation for the repaving of the road in two years.

On Tuesday, select board member Bob Ackland discussed what he called a "remote chance" that the town could receive federal money to repair the Sugarbush Access Road.

Ackland said contact had been made between Sugarbush Resort and Senator Patrick Leahy during a visit last week about whether money was available for the project.

"It's very remote. We need to know the total scope of repaving the road. It's something we could maybe pursue if the stars align," he said.

The first step, he said, would be to "figure out what it would take to bring the road back to where we want it. It's a stretch calling in a chip from a senator. Is this the chip we want to call in or are there other more worthy projects in The Valley?"

Cunningham asked Weston to explain the extent of the road damage.

"It's cracked through the asphalt. We need to put down new gravel. If you pour asphalt over it you're just throwing money away," Weston said.

The total cost of repaving the road in two years, according to Weston, could reach $3 million to $4 million including replacing the guardrails.

"If we have to do it ourselves, it's going to be broken into a lot of pieces," he said.

Town officials discussed completing a road survey, starting with the Sugarbush Access Road, to inventory road conditions and needed repairs on all town roads.



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