WELD – The Franklin County Commissioners held an emergency meeting on Thursday, June 29, to review the status of the Byron Road in Township 6 North of Weld. The meeting was opened at the intersection of the Byron Road and West Side Road in Weld, and the county commissioners, Road Commissioner Mike Pond, County Administrator Amy Bernard, Amanda Simoneau and Sara Bickford with the Franklin County Emergency Management Agency, and Tom Skolfield traveled in to evaluate the status of the road.
Franklin County is responsible for 2.53 miles of the Byron Road in Township Six North of Weld, between Weld and Byron in Oxford County. The entire length of roadway runs through state land in the Tumbledown Preserve, which is managed by the Maine State Bureau of Parks and Lands.
Due to recent storms along with inadequate ditching and culverts, the road washed out in several places, including a short section of paved road that runs down a hill immediately before the county line. This section was paved due to the significant grade, but the pavement was undermined in places. Some work had already been done in an attempt to make the road passable, but the amount of work required and associated costs exceeded the limit that the road commissioner is authorized to spend on emergency repairs without approval from the commissioners. Due to the conditions of the road, an emergency meeting was deemed necessary.
The commissioners and county administration spent nearly two hours assessing the road and brainstorming options for repair. Ultimately, Commissioner Bob Carlton made a motion to contact the Bureau of Parks and Lands to talk about the damages and options for repair, and to involve local legislators in the conversation as well. The commissioners are looking to have the Bureau involved in the process of repairs as the State is the only landowner on the county portion of the Byron Road. The commissioners unanimously approved this motion, and also approved a motion to allow the road commissioner to temporarily fix the paved section and make the road passable, and to mark the roadway to advise traffic on both ends.
Caution is advised on the Byron Road, which leads to the trails for Tumbledown Mountain and the Jackson peaks. Additional rain may result in further degradation of the road conditions.
Editor’s Note: Due to the remote location this meeting was not recorded by Mt. Blue TV. These photos were taken during the commissioners’ emergency meeting on June 29 and may not reflect the current road conditions.