Officials in Somerset County have estimated washouts to private roads in the northwestern part of the county will cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to fix, but the Maine Emergency Management Agency said Friday it is unable to help pay for repairs because the damage happened on private land.

Work on fixing the network of private roads in unorganized territory west of U.S. Route 201 between Jackman and The Forks probably will take weeks, according to state and local officials, many of whom expressed doubt that any outside funding will be available to help private landowners.

On Friday, several residents and camp owners remained trapped by the damage, which washed out large sections of road after more than 7 inches of rain fell Tuesday night in a five-hour period in the area.

The lack of access also concerned local and state emergency officials, who are doing what they can to make sure they can respond in case of an emergency.

“If there were a fire, everything would be gone before we could get in there,” said Jackman-Moose River Fire Chief Bill Jarvis. Jarvis estimated that there are about 100 residences, mostly seasonal camps in Upper Enchanted Township.

Somerset County Commissioner Bobby Dunphy estimated Friday that the amount of damage in the area would cost $900,000 to $1 million to fix, though other officials said the damage is so extensive it has been hard to get a comprehensive picture of the cost.

“I don’t think there’s really a lot (the county) can do unless the governor declares it an emergency,” Dunphy said.

The Maine Emergency Management Association, which handles natural disasters in the state, can’t secure federal emergency funding because the damage occurred on private land, said director Bruce Fitzgerald. There is also a required threshold of $1.9 million in damage that the state must prove to get funding.

The affected roads include Spencer Road; and several roads that branch off from it. Spencer Road is owned by forest management company Weyerhaeuser Co..

Kate Tate, external communications and public affairs director for Weyerhaeuser Co., said Friday that the company still is evaluating the situation, including needed repairs and the location of residents and visitors near and around their property.

Sen. Rod Whittemore, R-Skowhegan, who toured the damaged area Wednesday, said he was concerned about the lack of access and had talked with Gov. Paul LePage about securing additional state funding, and LePage is concerned.

Rachel Ohm can be contacted at 612-2368 or at:

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