Governor Surveys Storm Damage in Western Maine

August 29, 2011

For Immediate Release: Monday, August 29, 2011
Contact: Adrienne Bennett (207) 287-2531

Augusta, Maine – Governor Paul LePage toured damage from Tropical Storm Irene Monday in Western Maine including Carrabassett Valley and Rumford areas where extensive flooding occurred. The Governor joined Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) Director Robert McAleer and Maine Department of Transportation (MDOT) Commissioner David Bernhardt to assess the flood-damaged areas both from the air and on-foot.

The Governor arrived by a Maine Forest Service helicopter first visiting Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley where two bridges have washed out, effectively isolating the Sugarloaf/USA resort. MDOT crews are on site, working on both temporary and permanent solutions. MDOT has secured access through private roads, and are upgrading existing bridges on those private roads. Currently, there is a detour for Route 27: From Kingfield, Route 142 to Phillips, then Route 4 from Phillips to Rangeley, then Route 16 from Rangeley to Stratton.

At its peak, nearly 200 roads were affected by storm, as well as a dozen bridges. Currently, Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley; Route 232 in Rumford; and Route 113 in Fryeburg are now closed due to flooding or damage by high waters.

On Friday, the Governor declared a statewide emergency to enable state, county and municipal governments to respond effectively to the impact of Hurricane Irene, a storm expected to impact much of the state. Estimates concerning the storm damage are currently ongoing and will be available later in the week.

“We are getting a sense of the extent of the damage and where to focus our recovery efforts,” said Governor LePage. “The damage in some of these areas is devastating, and once we evaluate the financial loss we will see if Maine is eligible for Federal disaster assistance.”

In Rumford, where the Androscoggin River rose over flood banks, the Governor met with Town Manager Carlo Puiia and local fire department officials. Several roads near Black Mountain, including Spruce and Isthmus Roads, were significantly damaged. “We are very pleased that he took the time to view the damages. It helps us to prepare and submit claims through MEMA and FEMA. Our officials are familiar with that application process, but the Governor’s presence certainly solidifies our claims,” Puiia said.