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No federal funds for storm-damaged road and bridge

MARBLE ROAD in Ossipee as it looked following the washouts produced by Tropical Storm Irene on Aug. 28. (Mellisa Seamans photo) (click for larger version)
November 17, 2011
OSSIPEE — Although towns are responsible for maintaining roads classified as Class VI for passage of emergency vehicles, federal funds are not available for damage done to these roads by natural disaster, announced Ossipee selectmen Nov. 14.

Earlier this fall, Tropical Storm Irene caused washouts on a few roads in town but it was Marble Road that took the hardest hit. Several hundred feet of that road were washed away as well as a bridge. The town's highway department has completed much of the road repair, including constructing a new bridge. It was work selectmen said had to be done even if turned out the cost of repair would not be covered by federal disaster funds.

Originally, the cost of the road and bridge repair was estimated at $170,000 to be taken from the town's "rainy day fund" and was to include a precast concrete bridge but that idea was set aside in favor of steel bridge with a wooden deck and most of the work to be done by the town's highway crew. Ossipee Public Works Director Brad Harriman now estimates the cost to be reduced to $60,000 or less.

FEMA officials have been busy since the storm assessing areas of the northeast that suffered more extensive flooding damage than Ossipee. Selectmen finally received word this week that the town will not be reimbursed for the Marble Road and bridge repair expense. The town will receive 75 percent reimbursement for repairs made to Pine Hill Road, Bean Mountain Road and a section of Marble Road that is Class V.

Merrow land donation

Ossipee Planning Board has sent word to the selectmen they have no objection to Selectman Harry Merrow donating two pieces of land along Beech River to the town's Conservation Commission.

According to state law, selectmen now have to hold two public hearings and then vote whether or not to accept the land donation. The property has already been donated and deeded to the town's Conservation Commission. Public hearings and the vote are now set to take place as selectmen were not aware this procedure had to be followed before the land was donated.

The planning board, though in support of the donation, urged selectmen to require that a port-a-potty be placed at the site if the Conservation Commission installs a parking area and a picnic table and changes the land to a recreation area.

The next selectmen's meeting will be held Nov. 28 at 4:15 p.m.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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