DUMMERSTON -- A bridge-replacement project will close one end of Quarry Road for four to six weeks later this year.
The town is seeking contractors to replace a small bridge on Quarry Road at the junction with East-West Road. A $135,000 state grant will go toward the project, with the town also to contribute.
Officials have set an accelerated construction schedule in order to get the project finished this fall. Construction bids are due by 5 p.m. June 18; the Selectboard will read the bids an hour later, and the board is scheduled to award a bid the following week.
"To get it accomplished, I think we have to move this along. I did talk with a couple contractors, and there's no problem with that time frame," said Lee Chamberlin, the town's road foreman.
"If we postponed it for another two weeks after that, it might put it into the next construction season," he added.
Quarry Road runs parallel to the West River and Route 30 south of the Dummerston Covered Bridge. The structure in question will have concrete footings, concrete walls and a metal arch; it is 18 feet wide and 36 feet long, Chamberlin said.
Town bid documents do not set a specific project schedule other than mandating that the work "will be completed by the close of the construction season 2014." A mandatory pre-bid meeting for contractors is scheduled for 7 a.m. June 4 at the site.
Chamberlin said the town has obtained work easements for private property near the bridge. Bid documents say working hours will be 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. for heavy equipment.
Of more significance to residents will be the road closure, which cannot extend beyond six weeks per the town's project specifications. Chamberlin said drivers will have to use the Green Iron Bridge off Route 30 to access Quarry Road during the project.
"The only thing that won't be able to cross the Green Iron Bridge will be fire trucks," Chamberlin said. "We'll have to come around from the side," meaning from Rice Farm Road.
In other recent town business:
-- The Selectboard has given its blessing to the Energy Committee to pursue a project that encourages private property owners to pursue investment in small-scale solar.
The board voted last week to support a "Solarize Dummerston" campaign in which the committee will select a contractor to install solar panels on homes and businesses. The committee would handle marketing for the program, thus reducing "soft costs that a contractor would face" and reducing the cost of solar for property owners, Energy Committee member Alex Wilson previously had told the Selectboard.
Some board members had concerns about choosing just one contractor; Chairman Zeke Goodband suggested that the Energy Committee "could maybe have a resource list and also provide the names of other installers in the area."
-- Town Zoning Administrator Charlotte Annis has received permission to begin notifying abutting landowners directly about upcoming Development Review Board hearings.
Currently, the applicant for a DRB permit is in charge of notifying abutters 15 days prior to a hearing. But some towns have moved toward allowing zoning administrators to handle that function so that all interested parties receive timely notices, Annis said.
The Selectboard voted to make that change in policy in Dummerston.
"If you want to be sure that it gets done, it's probably best to do it yourself," Selectboard member Joe Cook said.
However, the board declined to take immediate action on Annis' proposal to raise DRB-application fees. Such fees total $85 now -- $75 for the town and $10 for a recording fee -- and Annis said the charge doesn't even cover the town's cost for publishing public notices of an application.
She advocates a $5 increase, while others suggested a bigger hike. But the board will take that up at a later meeting.
Mike Faher can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 802-254-2311, ext. 275.