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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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Sugarbush Access Road paving article

Voters in the town of Warren will be asked to approve a $375,000 article to repave an approximately eight-tenths of a mile section of the Sugarbush Access Road. Warren town officials voted in favor of the article at their January 11 meeting.

If approved, the article would fund phase one of the Sugarbush Access Road repaving project; the section of road starts near Gold Hill Road and ends near the Wheeler Brook Apartments.

The one-time $375,000 expenditure will result in approximately 12 cents on the tax rate.

After a discussion about which section of the road should be repaved first, select board members opted for the section of road that was previously disturbed by the culvert replacement project and Sugarbush pipeline replacement.

As to whether the town should ask for the money in an article rather than incorporating it into the budget, select board chair Andy Cunningham said, "Let the town tell us they want us to raise taxes" with an article.

Select board member Bob Ackland said, "We've got to make a dent in this $4 million problem."

Town officials also discussed bonding the project; select board member Kirsten Reilly said she was "uncomfortable with a bond for a continuing expenditure."

Select board member Matt Groom said that the town needs to "catch up on our untenable roads and fund them so it doesn't get to this level again."

Ackland told fellow town officials that the request for potential federal funding to repair the road "went into Senator Leahy's office today" for review. Ackland also presented plans and a framework for the project to members of the Mad River Planning District Steering Committee in December.

MRVPD Steering Committee members voted in support of the repaving project; 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 "communitywide thing."

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.

Following a summer's worth of construction on the Sugarbush Access Road, 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.

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


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