Thursday January 10, 2013

HALIFAX - Another bridge is going to be rebuilt and lengthened after the destruction caused by Tropical Storm Irene.

"We were still waiting for state approval for this as a project and (we) received a call a few hours after our meeting last time," Selectboard member Edee Edwards said.

The Hale Road Bridge was awarded to the Renaud Brothers on Jan. 3. The reconstruction efforts were bid at $164,180.00.

"That's the last bridge," Lewis Sumner told the Reformer on Tuesday.

The last Selectboard meeting before Jan. 3, the board was made aware that some calculations of the bridge were changed. It was under the belief that the town's portion would be $2,000, but it may cost more due to the lengthening that has to be done to the bridge.

Rejection from FEMA has caused the board to re-think how to approach getting the additional funding for the bridge, which it thought FEMA may help cover. At the meeting, Halifax Irene Recovery Officer Administrator and EMS Chief Christina Moore gave some insight.

"It's worth throwing an appeal down and building the bridge anyways," said Moore.

She advised the board that, with its permission, she should write a letter to FEMA protesting the decision on the Hale Road bridge project.

It was mentioned that FEMA was challenging similar things on other town projects as well.

"I did the same exact analysis on Deer Park Bridge and this time, they went about it in an entirely different way," Moore said.


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She mentioned that the town has 60 days to make an appeal. Then if it is rejected again, the town still has a chance to get the project approved when the state tries to reverse that decision.

A comment from the public pointed out that debris had been left at another bridge construction site.

Selectboard Chairman Lewis Sumner said there is "a lot of debris that went down stream" and one of the major problems was that it went through private properties.

SVE is going to perform construction engineering oversight for the bridge project, which the board also approved at the meeting. Moore was appointed the job of being the contact person, who will talk with SVE.

The board was updated on the Deer Park bridge work. Brad Rafus, of the Highway Department, told the board that the abutment has been completed on the Green River Road side. There will be an attempt to finish the other abutment soon.

Another topic of conversation was on energy efficient street lights.

The town has the option to learn how to finance a project that would promote using more energy efficient lights such as LED lights. The resource for learning about the program is Windham Regional Commission's Municipal Energy Efficiency Coordinator Tristian Robers.

Another part of the plan to make the town more energy efficient would be to have a "residents' challenge."

This would ask around nine homeowners to allow to have their residences reviewed, then make the appropriate changes in order to make their homes more energy efficient. After taking the recommendations, the town would would review the data and how productive the venture would be for other homeowners.

The street light program would replace the current street lights with LED lights at no cost, Edwards informed the board.