News Release for August 29, 2011

For more Information:
Paul Merrill, Public Information Officer - 207-624-3355 or 207-215-9297


Storm Destroys Two Bridges, Closes Route 27 In Carrabassett Valley

CARRABASSETT VALLEY, Maine – MaineDOT engineers and crews continue to work on roads and bridges damaged in the wake of tropical storm Irene. Much of the worst damage occurred in northern Franklin and Oxford countries where heavy rains washed out roads and two bridges.

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.

Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley is currently closed as two bridges on either side of the Sugarloaf Access Road were washed out by flood waters. There currently is temporary access to Sugarloaf through a series of private roads. There is no through traffic on Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley, and a detour has been posted.

From Kingfield, the detour involves taking Route 142 from Kingfield to Phillips, Route 4 from Phillips to Rangeley, and Route 16 from Rangeley to Stratton. This detour route is approximately 34 miles longer than traveling the 22 miles from Kingfield to Stratton along Route 27.

The detour to Stratton from Farmington includes staying on Route 4 from Farmington to Rangeley, then travelling Route 16 from Rangeley to Stratton. That route is 56 miles long, 15 miles longer than traveling the 41 miles along Route 27 from Farmington to Stratton.

MaineDOT engineers are onsite assessing the damage and formulating both a short term, and long range plan for accessing Sugurloaf and replacing the bridges. MaineDOT is working with the Governor’s office to expedite the repair and replacement process for these bridges due to the importance of Route 27 to the regional economy. MaineDOT is also working closely with Federal Highway Administration officials. The cost for the emergency work will be entirely or predominantly federally-funded.

Among the options that are being considered are installing temporary bridges at one or both sites on Route 27, and improving the private roads leading to Sugarloaf as well.

Along with the repairs to the bridges on Route 27, MaineDOT crews must repair portions of Route 27 along the Carrabassett River that were damaged by the floodwaters. There is extensive erosion along some of the roadbanks which will require significant work to stabilize the road.

Prior to the bridges washing out, MaineDOT had closed the bridges as a precautionary measure due to the high waters. MaineDOT had closed nearly a dozen bridges across the state that are termed “scour-critical”. These scour-critical bridges are more susceptible to erosion, and are monitored closely during flood events such as tropical storm Irene.

In other areas around the state, crews are repairing washed-out roads, and inspecting other bridges. Estimates concerning the storm damage are currently ongoing and will be available later in the week.