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MRVPD supports Sugarbush Access Road repaving

Members of the Mad River Valley Planning District (MRVPD) Steering Committee voted in favor of supporting the town of Warren's infrastructure project for the improvement of the Sugarbush Access Road at their December 16 meeting.

MRVPD director Joshua Schwartz said that the project was "not just a priority for them but for us too." Steering committee members agreed, calling the need to repave the road a "community-wide thing."

Steering committee member and Warren Select Board member Bob Ackland was charged with providing the framework for the project and presenting it to the steering committee.

Ackland told the steering committee that the eventual repaving of the Sugarbush Access Road is a priority and that the Warren Select Board would "like to push for it."

In October, Ackland told fellow town officials that there was a "remote chance" that the town could receive federal money to repair the Sugarbush Access Road; he said contact had been made between Sugarbush Resort and Senator Patrick Leahy's office about whether such funding would be available for the project.

Leahy's office suggested going through the MRVPD, according to Ackland.

Schwartz said, "Bob has done a good job providing the framework" for the project and continued, "If this is our priority then they would take a lot away from that. They would like that statement from this body that this project is a priority for The Valley."

Ackland said that while no jobs would be created as a result, paving the road would "make it better and safer from the town's perspective."

"The steep portion of the road is bad; there are spots on the ledge where it's sliding," he added.

Following a summer's worth of construction on the Sugarbush Access Road, including the replacement of several culverts and a section of ruptured snowmaking pipe, contractors for the project, G.W. Tatro, completed patch paving in the spots that were disturbed.

The town then expressed concerns that the patch paving would result in damage to the town's trucks and that the pavement would likely be ripped up by the plow. G.W. Tatro owner Greg Tatro said that the town was overreacting and that the pavement would not come up after the first freeze, as Road Foreman Ray Weston previously predicted.

Town officials said that the culvert replacement project that kept a portion of the Sugarbush Access Road closed for a month last summer was done in preparation for the repaving of the road in two years.

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

MRVPD steering committee chair Jared Cadwell made a motion to support the infrastructure upgrades and agreed that Schwartz should provide Leahy's office with the information the town of Warren creates "so it gets in the right hands."

"If they start to ask a lot more of him then it should come back to Warren," he said.

The MRVPD steering committee meets the third Thursday of the month at the General Wait House at 7 p.m. For more information visit www.mrvpd.org.

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