We had three major rain events since the end of February that totaled almost 15 inches of rain. The first one on Feb.23, 2010 did the most damage in Mason, as there was still snow banking that didn't allow the water to run off the road. There were several roads that were washed out to the point of being impassable. Many other areas were under water due to damaged or blocked culverts. To add to the fun, there was a snow storm predicted two days later, so all the major repairs had to be completed in one day to allow for plowing.
As the water receded after the third major rain event, the damage to our roads became clear. Many off our tar roads had the top layer washed off, much as during the 2005 flood event.
We also had three culverts that partially or totally collapsed. One is on Wilton Road at the intersection of Sand Pit Road. This is being replaced during school vacation week, April 26-30, 2010. The second one is on Townsend Road near Lupe Gagnon's House. This one will have to be replaced before we do our paving for the season. We anticipate it to be replaced in the first or second week of May. The third culvert damaged is on Black Brook Road, and will be replaced as we have time.
We appreciate your patience during these projects. We have had to fit these repairs in around our regular spring work.
We do have some good news from all this, we are applying to F.E.M.A for funds to pay for 75% of the repairs. Some repairs are being made at the present, due to the damage to the roads, and some will have to wait for the FEMA process to approve them.
Where did all the potholes come from?
It is a combination of weather, moisture, the freeze thaw cycle, and materials used on the roads. Most of our paved roads were shimmed with a "cold mix" that never really hardens. It does however, "dry out" and loses its strength.
Why don't you patch them?
We are in the process of patching them, as weather and manpower permits. We have been working in the patching process around some spring grading, (dirt roads get potholes also), and the emergency work to keep all the roads passable.
When you patch, why do you skip some holes?
Due to the number of potholes town wide, we try to get the deepest worst holes on the busiest roads first. Then we go back and refine the job as time and materials permit. Also, some areas that are going to be dug up to replace culverts that are collapsing are skipped in the interest of saving time and materials.
Why don't you just pave all the roads that need repair?
It would be cost prohibitive to try and do this as there are approximately 22 miles of paved roads in Mason. This year the paving money, ($80,000.00) is going to pay to pave about 4,000 feet of road, (a mile is 5280 feet). To put this in perspective. That will pave Townsend Road from Depot Road south to just before Jackson Road.
What else can we do about this problem?
There are several options that are being looked at. Some are short term, and some are long term.
One possibility is to look at removing the pavement and using re-cycled asphalt to make a temporary road surface that can be maintained with the grader.
Another is to simply remove the pavement, add some of our crushed gravel and maintain the road as a gravel road.
Due to the economic climate, these may be very tempting to use.
What are the long-term options?
There are several, the question is what can we afford?
We can continue as we have been, overlaying about 4000 feet of road each year. This option appears to be too long termed, as it will take so much time to complete all paving.
We can try to overlay all the roads that need it in a short time, (1-3 years) which will cost a substantial amount of money through a bond.
We could also try the "Amherst type Plan" which would include having a road Surface Management Plan Survey performed, and a plan engineered to repair all the roads in need. This might be funded by a bond. In Amherst there was a committee to explore options and funding.
I live on a dirt road and was wondering if there was going to be any dust control used this year?
While we did cut the amount of money budgeted for dust control, we are working to get to the point where we can apply it ourselves. We are getting advise on this from the Hollis Highway Department as to application methods. Also, the Brookline Road agent is donating a tank that can be used to spread the liquid, as well as splitting a load of the dry calcium chloride, so that we will get a better deal and get more for our money. With all this, we hope to be able to provide dust control for the dirt roads.