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TOWN OF WASHINGTON ROADS REPORT

TOWN OF WASHINGTON ROADS REPORT
for the week of 8/7 through 8/25 and looking out ahead
roads supervisor: AJ Galfetti
roads commissioner: Jesse Lambert
roadcrew: Elwin Chambers, Mike Tagliavia, and, as of 8/21, Owen Dudley


A delay in this report getting written up, as animals, stonework under our barn at home, and new fronts of
FEMA work opened up in the past few weeks. But here’s a try, gathering up notes with sightlines towards
regular August rounds, grant work, and FEMA repairs and updates.


Foul weather and truck problems in the first week kept our road crew from resuming work on Turnpike
Road. Nick and Josh had begun work there right after the July 10th storm, and since picking back up last
week, washed-out ditches and eroded sidewalls have been getting repaired, and more surface material has
been laid out and graded. In the process, Elwin, Mike, and Owen have also changed out two 24″ culverts for
30 inchers.

Truck-wise, AJ’s hopeful that our 2017 International ten-wheeler, marooned at the shop for over a
month, will soon return, to join the 21, sidelined for a bit with now-resolved fuse problems.

Kept from Turnpike that first week, Elwin ran the grader, recrowning and feathering out material pulled from
the sides of all six plus miles of West Corinth Road. That completed the grading of the town’s two largest
class two roads, and its primary east-west thoroughfares.

Woodchuck Hollow Extension also got a good top dressing of packed stone and its ditches touched up, as well as attention to its steep descent into the intersection with Notch. Denton Road rounded out work out in the East Orange-facing part of town, with its washed-out upper roadwall redefined and side-ditched. Running by the entry to the road late last week, it looks as nice as I’ve ever seen it.


Along with the weather delays on Turnpike, work on the MacDonald Road grant project was also slowed by
the heavy rains that first week. Mike Avery has got two large Volvo excavators at the site (a 160 and 200
Volvo) and has since switched out the preexisting 4′ x 4′ stacked granite slab box culvert for a 84″ x 137″ x
40′ long upgrade. Just in terms of inlet and outlet dimensions, the 7′ x nearly 11-and-a-half foot apertures
provide a passage nearly five times as large. And the road grade above this will also increase by 2′, providing
both a significant increase in maximal water flow volume, and protection from scouring and road erosion
above the headwalls. Those, you’ll notice, are composed of a poured-in-place concrete headwall on the outlet
end, and dry-stacked granite work on the inlet side.

The grant funding for this culvert upgrade project comes through the Vermont Better Roads Grant Program, and has a backlife of more than four years. Fred Blanchard, working with State River Management Engineer, Patrick Ross, first applied for work on the site,near the Bock residence, back in 2019. Not accepted that year, Fred reapplied, got accepted, and then with
the emergence of Covid in the spring of 2020, the project got bumped. The third application finally saw
acceptance and funding, with the new culvert having been slated to arrive the day after the flooding of July
10 th . After four years through the grant process, a generational storm-delay, and then a second bidding
process, the work begun two plus weeks ago is nearly finished, and it’s worth a drive up to see the new
headwalls and the cavernous ovally pipe arch.


Elsewhere around town, Jeff Moran was back down on Creamery Road, where he had helped in the
immediate morning-after emergency repairs six weeks ago now. Further up the road, by Edmund’s (whose
name I’ve heard but never seen) as you climb up the hill, Jeff worked on a different grant project, providing
an additional culvert before the bridge, and then the stonelining and ditching of the subsequent hill all the
way up to the top.

Not far from this work, Ruggles Engineering out of St Johnsbury was in town last
Wednesday morning to assess the temporary Johnson Lane bridge repair Jeff had worked up in that first flush
of emergency repairs. We should have a weight rating to post there before too long, and we’ll ultimately be
returning for a permanent repair in the future, hopefully through our FEMA mitigation process.

On that front, Sheila and I met with our FEMA-appointed town representative, and a host of other FEMA
specialists, by conference call last Tuesday morning. For the most part, it was an introductory call, helping
our representative get a general sense of the extent and types of road damages we suffered back in the second
week of July.

A second, more road-by-road specific meeting with take place on September 6th at the town
office, followed by a couple hours touring roads with different types of damage and different possible
improvements we may apply for through FEMA’s mitigation process. That word, in ordinary usage, doesn’t
quite capture its technical FEMA-sense, and in some ways this was the most significant takeaway from our
meeting last Tuesday. It’s in that mitigation process that towns can pause between immediate temporary
repairs, bringing a road back to preexisting specs, and apply to have the permanent road repairs take into
account a wider array of suggestions and site analysis that might help either prevent or diminish the kinds of
damages future storms could bring about at those same sites. I’ll be learning more about this prior to our
September 6th meeting, with an eye to tailoring our road tour that afternoon to the kinds of sites where these
second-phase improvements might prepare us better for the likelihood of more frequent and severe weather-
related events out in front of us.

A more complete look into the FEMA repairs still out ahead of us, I’ll write up in the next roads report. For
now, our three-person town crew, aided by Jesse and AJ are looking to work on smaller sites, after finishing
up the resumption of work on Turnpike Road. Repairs on Ryder Road are lined up next, followed by the the
Williamstown Road grant project, and then the FEMA repairs on Pray Road and Sky Acres. I’m hoping to
head out to look in on a couple of these next week, in addition to the FEMA sites queued up beyond them.

And our largest project, the rebuild of Notch Road, has finally got clearance for seeking engineering and
design assistance. That process, exasperating at times, finally arrived at unambiguous confirmation of
assistance three days ago. The scope and nature of the engineering work to come, I’ll write on next time.

In the meantime, if you have any roads or questions you’d like to see focused in on here, you can always write
me at ben.washingtonroads@gmail.com.

Ben Tiefenthaler
FEMA administrator
ben.washingtonroads@gmail.com