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August 29, 2011

UPDATE: Sugarloaf says resort is now reachable by detour

Two state bridges washed away by Tropical Storm Irene

Staff Report

Updated at 2 p.m.

click image to enlarge

Maine officials, including Gov. Paul Lepage, surveyed damage Monday from Tropical Storm Irene, including two washed out bridges on Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley. The damage cut off Sugarloaf Mountain, though Maine Department of Transportation has since established detours. According to the department, the detour for Route 27 is: from Kingfield, Route 142 to Phillips, then Route 4 from Phillips to Rangeley, then Route 16 from Rangeley to Stratton.

Office of the Governor photo

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Maine officials, including Gov. Paul Lepage, surveyed damage Monday from Tropical Storm Irene, including two washed out bridges on Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley. The damage cut off Sugarloaf Mountain, though Maine Department of Transportation has since established detours. According to the department, the detour for Route 27 is: from Kingfield, Route 142 to Phillips, then Route 4 from Phillips to Rangeley, then Route 16 from Rangeley to Stratton.

Office of the Governor photo

Additional Photos Below

See a picture of the washed-out bridge on Route 27 at Carrabasset Valley.

Sugarloaf Mountain officials say the resort can now be reached by a detour, after earlier reports that it had become isolated after two state-owned bridges were washed out on Route 27.

In a release, Sugarloaf officials said the bridge north of Sugarloaf, which crosses the South Branch of Carrabassett River, was damaged and is currently impassable. That crossing connects with the Eustis-Stratton area and all points to the south.

The bridge to the south of Sugarloaf, which is about 500 feet from the resort’s access road, was damaged and is "unfit for vehicle traffic as well," the release said. A detour has now been created for visitors to avoid that damaged bridge, enabling access to Sugarloaf Mountain, according to the release.

The Sugarloaf area received about 8.5 inches of rain from Tropical Storm Irene, the release says.

In addition, two golf cart bridges were damaged on the Sugarloaf Golf Club, which is owned by the town of Carrabassett Valley and operated by the resort. Those bridges provide access to tee boxes on the north side of the South Branch of the Carrabassett River. The golf course bridges are being inspected and will reopen to cart traffic when deemed safe, repaired or replaced, the release said.

"Despite the rain and damage to the afore mentioned bridges, the resort’s business operations will continue as usual," the release said. "All conferences, weddings, scenic lift rides, zipline tours and resort amenities - including restaurants, retail operations and the SugarloafOutdoorCenter - are continuing as normal."

State transportation crews are on the scene at Carrabassett Valley. Lynette Miller, spokeswoman for the Maine Emergency Management Agency, said the washed out section is "the worst situation" currently being handled statewide by the Department of Transportation.

"They're assessing and looking at actual damages in the short and long term," Miller said.

Mark Latti, spokesman for the transportation department, said two short-term options being considered: "enhancing" private dirt roads so they can connect to the access road, or installing a temporary bridge. The long-term solution is to replace the bridges altogether, he said.

Earlier, Gov. Paul LePage took a helicopter tour of the area and spoke with citizens in the Carrabassett Valley area. LePage also planned to fly to Phillips and Rumford, where roads are closed because of major flooding, according to a release.

A Stratton resident said the Route 27 bridge washed out about 5 p.m. It's a key road, because it takes traffic north into Quebec.

Franklin County dispatcher Stan Wheeler said other roads in Franklin County experienced minor flooding, with some portions of Route 4 reduced to one lane of traffic because of high water.

Latti said Route 16 from Kingfield to New Portland and the North Anson area is also experiencing flooding from the Carrabassett River; sections of the route were closed during the night and are reduced to one lane of traffic now.

High water closed a bridge on Route 4 in nearby Madrid, which would provide an alternate for the Route 27 closure. The Madrid bridge closed tonight because of high water, but is structurally sound, he said.

The Madrid bridge should reopen Monday, providing an alternate to the Route 27 washout. "The Madrid bridge will get attention as early as (Monday). It's the only viable route north of Sugarloaf," he said.

Motorists across the state are dealing with washed-out roads and road closures because of downed trees and wires, especially in the Lakes region, Oxford County and western Maine.

At 8 p.m., 110 roads were closed statewide, most because of downed trees and wires and some because of flooding.

McCausland said 115 residents were in Red Cross shelters statewide.

 

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Additional Photos

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STATEWIDE DAMAGE: Gov. Paul LePage, left, on Monday speaks with Maine Department of Transportation bridge maintenance Supervisor Jeff Naum, right, about the damage that occured on Sunday to the bridge over Brackett Brook on Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley. LePage was on a statewide tour of damage caused by Tropical Storm Irene on Sunday.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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STRONG WIND: A motorist on Monday drives over a portion of Route 27 in Kingfield where rain from Tropical Storm Irene washed away pavement.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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CLOSE CALL: Truck driver Yannick Livernoche of Canada on Monday talks beside a collapsed bridge over the Carrabassett River on Route 27 in Carrabassett Valley. During tropical storm Irene on Sunday Livernoche and his truck became trapped between the bridge and another nearby collapsed bridge leaving his rig unable to drive away until the bridges are repaired.

Staff photo by David Leaming

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TROPICAL SPRAY: A motorist on Monday blasts through water where Route 16 in Embden is flooded from rain from Tropical Storm Irene.

Staff photo by David Leaming

  


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