Vassalboro looks to repair or replace three culverts

by Mary Grow

Vassalboro has three large culverts that need repair or replacement, and limited funds for special road projects. Town Manager Mary Sabins and two public works department members therefore went to a program on grants at the end of August. One outcome was a request from a private company to discuss grant application procedures.

Consequently, town selectmen, Sabins, Road Commissioner Eugene Field and crew member James “J.J.” Wentworth met Sept. 26 with Esther Bizier from Main-Land Development Consultants of Livermore Falls. The participating audience included two Vassalboro residents, Nate Gray from the Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and James Foster, who is with VHB, Inc (Vanasse Hangen Brustlin) of South Portland. The culverts are on Gray Road, Whitehouse Road and Cross Hill Road. For months, Field and selectmen have intermittently discussed options for the Cross Hill Road culvert, which has crumbling concrete and water running under it.

The Sept. 26 discussion focused on which of the three would be most likely to get the most money if town officials applied for a state Stream Crossing Grant. Participants talked about application requirements, an area in which Sabins said neither she nor Field has a lot of expertise; timetables (the deadline for this fall is Nov. 12, but there will be another window in the spring); and criteria for receiving a grant. Bizier said positive effects on fish habitat count for 50 percent, infrastructure improvement and public safety 25 percent and cost efficiency 25 percent.

The maximum grant is $92,000, Sabins said. A municipality can apply for two grants at a time.

After reviewing the potential costs and value of work on each of the three culverts, selectmen voted to retain Main-Land to prepare an application for the Gray Road culvert, for a $4,500 fee, and to hire Foster to work with Field on an application for the one on Cross Hill Road.

They made no further commitment at this point. Board Chairman Lauchlin Titus said before Nov. 12 they will decide whether to submit both applications or only one.


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