Roads reopen as other Jamaica projects go on hold for winter

Wednesday December 12, 2012

JAMAICA -- The cold weather has come and put some construction work around town on hold.

"Winter closed in on us," said Archie Clark, owner of A.S Clark and Sons from Newfane, who worked on parts of Pike Falls Road this year. "We concurred that it's best to leave the rest of the project until spring."

Since Tropical Storm Irene, the town of Jamaica has been focusing a lot of energy on assessing the damage and dealing with reconstruction efforts.

At the Selectboard meeting on Monday, it was declared that as of Dec. 5, outdoor construction projects for the town have been shut down for the winter.

Construction on Pike Falls Road, which is between the Jamaica House and the town office, began two months ago. Clark's company did part of the project, while Larry Brown Excavating from Londonderry did another portion of it.

The road is now open. Although there have been "road closed" signs up for the past two days, it has been reopened to the public and traffic.

Before it opened, the stream bank had been stabilized, guardrails had been put up and pavement had been put down. When the spring comes, top soil will need to be added as well as seeding. The aesthetics of the road will be further improved in the spring as part of the contract.

There is a sharp curve on the road that will need revised signage, said Rob Faulkner of Cha Engineering at the meeting. He warned that cars should not be going around it faster than 25 mph.

The town has signs that have been put away during construction.

"Our thought was that those signs could be erected on Pike Falls Upper Road," Faulkner told the Selectboard.

West Jamaica Road has been reopened, too.

The bridge should be approached with caution by trucks. The weight it can handle may not be represented correctly by the posting on the sign.

Old Route 8, where the bid was awarded to GPT Maintenance, is "substantially finished," according to Faulkner.

Guardrails will be put up in the spring. Final roadway grading and seeding is to be done to finish that project as well.

The town has been submitting applications to FEMA for Sage Hill Bridge and Goodieville Bridge.

Goodieville Road has gone out to bid. The Selectboard has been asked by Faulkner to decide what they want to do about an issue with a slope in the road.

Water Street is to be finalized by the spring. It will have a finished roadway. On that street, four homes in a row were destroyed in Irene and the Selectboard recently met with FEMA officials about the Hazard Mitigation Grant Program. Those property owners had applied for the program but may not be eligible.

After waiting a year for a buyout, the Selectboard and people who work with Community Development Block Grants are figuring out what these displaced property owners should do if FEMA does not come through on the buyouts

Paul Fraser, who has worked extensively with these people and the town on recovery-related issues, has put in for extension dates on other projects in town that may need assistance from FEMA.

The Selectboard was told that it should act before those dates or the town will lose money.

"We have to ask for another extension to complete the work that has to be completed," Selectboard Chair Alexa Clark told the Reformer on Tuesday.

After Irene, there has been concern over some trees on Turkey Mountain Road, which need to come down as they are a danger to the road.

The Selectboard was asked to consider this issue as well as other ones related to recovery after Irene.

"Five small projects haven't opened bids yet," Clark told the Reformer. "FEMA is going to cover some, some they're not. We are kind of seeing which ones they'll pay for then go from there."

Dale Wood Road, Diers Road, Forrester Road and Kings Road all need culvert replacements. Since those culverts haven't been destroyed, FEMA won't grant funds for replacements.

"Everyone worked really hard," said Clark towards the end of the meeting. "When spring comes, we should have more time to get it all done."

Twelve proposals have been sent to the state for disaster recovery funds, which are then sent to FEMA. Five of the proposals have already been sent to FEMA, according to Bob Stomski, of Cha Engineering, who also helped with the report on the progress of the recovery projects.

Stomski has been reviewing FEMA Performance Work Statements to double-check and revise the town's applications for more grants. He is trying to help the town save money and get the best value, Faulkner told the Selectboard.

Chris Mays can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or Follow Chris on Twitter @CMaysReformer.


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