FRANKLIN COUNTY – A month after the heavy rain and flooding that swamped Franklin County and other parts of the state, repairs are still ongoing.
Early on in the process of reporting damages, it was apparent that Franklin County exceeded the minimal threshold of reported damages to meet the initial criteria for a federally declared disaster. With a disaster declaration, funds from the Federal Emergency Management Agency could potentially be released to reimburse some of the cost of repairs.
For small municipalities who face major repairs – sometimes exceeding the cost of their roads budget – these funds can help ease the burden of this unanticipated event.
Amanda Simoneau with Franklin County Emergency Management said that in Franklin County, approximately $1.4 million in damages associated with the May 1 flooding event were reported. Those figures were an estimate and will continue to change as more assessments come in and as the numbers get finalized through a validation process with FEMA, which is expected to begin in early June.
The following municipalities in Franklin County reported flood damages: Avon, Carrabassett Valley, Chesterville, Dallas Plantation, Farmington, Industry, Jay, Kingfield, New Sharon, New Vineyard, Phillips, Strong, Temple, Unorganized Territories, Weld, and Wilton.
Farmington Public Works Director Phil Hutchins provided a snapshot of the flood impact in Farmington. He reported a total of 35 reports of immediate damage sites that needed to be addressed within the week of the storms to prevent further hazards from developing. Portions of Clover Mills Road, Morrison Hill Road, and Holley Road had to be rebuilt, with the Holley Road not fully reopened until mid-May, more than two weeks after the flood.
Hutchins said that repairs will likely continue throughout the summer due to the amount of damages. At this point, Hutchins is looking at repairs to the shoulders of the roads, along with ditching, and finalizing short-term repairs.
At the state level, Paul Merrill with Maine Department of Transportation reported that MaineDOT has identified 16 damage sites in Franklin County related to the May 1 storm. The estimated value of the damage on state assets in Franklin County is $650,000. This is separate from the $1.4 million reported by municipalities in Franklin County.
These reported figures do not include damage to private property such as damaged or destroyed driveways or private roads, flooded or damaged vehicles, and flooded basements and lost property.
Repairs across the county may continue throughout the summer. Numerous locations along highways and streets still have significant shoulder damage, and repairs in some places are temporary to prevent further deterioration of the roadway until a permanent repair can be made.
While summer is often referred to as ‘road work season’ in Maine, residents and travelers should plan for additional road work and subsequent delays as regularly scheduled maintenance and projects are performed alongside flood damage repairs.