Ground disturbance on the Sugarbush Access Road will likely go beyond the state's October 15 deadline, according to Warren Department of Public Works director Barry Simpson; he updated select board members on the project status at the October 12 meeting.

G.W. Tatro contracted with the town on the Sugarbush Access Road culvert project as well as Sugarbush's pipeline replacement project, also currently underway.

The section of the road was closed to traffic on August 4 and reopened to one-way traffic on August 24; originally, the project was scheduled to be completed by August 18.

RUNNING BEHIND

At the previous select board meeting, Simpson said the project was running behind schedule partially due to a shift in momentum when the work began on the Sugarbush pipeline.

Simpson said that he thought "it would be inappropriate to try to extend beyond the October 15 deadline" set by the state that requires that ground disturbance be complete.

Select board member Bob Ackland asked if the town could be fined for working beyond the deadline. Simpson said it was his understanding that the state can provide leeway in some situations.

RAINFALL AND EROSION

Heavy rainfall and subsequent erosion are among Simpson's concerns for the behind-schedule project. He said, "We've had heavy rainfall and we're supposed to get more on Friday."

Simpson said paving has begun and there have been discussions following a walk-through of the site about stone lining the ditch between the next to the last culvert on the steepest part of the road.

Select board member Matt Groom said he would not be in favor of spending additional money on the project given the amount already spent.

"We've spent a lot of money when we didn't have a lot to spend. We can budget it next budget season. Ditches were never stone lined before this. I imagine we can make it a year or two."

Tatro agreed contractually to return the roads, ditches, swales, driveways, et cetera to the same if not better condition if they damage the road in any way.

Select board member Bob Ackland said that Tatro has made "a pretty strong argument that they've put [the ditch] back the way it was.

Select board chair Andy Cunningham said, "If there wasn't a decent ditch there before, we would have had complaints about water spilling; there was something there that worked and now it doesn't work. It isn't what it was, and if that's what they're saying, then I would not accept that."

Town officials also discussed damage to the pavement as a result of loaders and excavators. Simpson said the road department has expressed concern about plowing over uneven surfaces and the potential for accidents and injuries as a result.

"Where the culvert project has made a problem to the road, it's our responsibility. Where the pipeline project has made damage, its Sugarbush's responsibility," he continued.

Select board member Kirsten Reilly discussed the planned repaving of the Sugarbush Access Road within the next two years.

"We plan to repave the whole road. That's why we're doing all this work. If we can maintain it for two years, then repave it, we should."

Groom added, "We're not looking for a freebie from them, just clear the bar. We want it done well enough where the plows aren't going to catch or flake off; that's enough."

Simpson said, "In order to refurbish that road to a good paved surface, there is no way we're going to be able to do that this year or next year."



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