by Mickey Smith
ELMORE – There were a lot of varying opinions offered at a meeting held Thursday night, August 8, in Elmore at the town office to discuss the conditions of Elmore’s dirt roads. The one thing everyone seemed to agree on was something needs to be done to make the roads better. About 20 people attended the meeting.
Elmore Selectboard Chair Robert Burley opened the meeting offering an explanation of how Elmore’s mostly clay soils do not make a good sub-base for the roads and lead to problems especially during times of deep frost and heavy rains – two conditions that Elmore has experienced since last winter. Burley also presented photos taken showing how the layers of material that make up the base of the road are lacking in gravel.
“It’s like painting rotten wood,” said Burley.
Board member Caroline DeVore led the discussion regarding concerns on the roads.
The first concern was with having one person serve as both road commissioner and road crew foreman. There was a thought the positions worked better when the jobs were separated because it provided another set of eyes on how things were going. There was also concern, having the same person in both roles was a conflict of interest. The board, and several of the people in attendance, felt the current management system worked well. It was pointed out many towns have road commissioners who work on the roads as well, and it’s the selectboard’s job to be another set of eyes on the roads.
Discussion turned to the state of the roads, especially during rainstorms. Elmore Mountain Road, Simmonds Mill Road and Camp Road were the most commonly mentioned roads, with concerns mostly centering around grading issues. The issues included a lack of a crown and small berms on the sides where the road sits lower than the terrain. These problems lead to water running down the center of the road, the towns people said, and can cause deep ruts and channels.
Debate centered around if the issue is caused by grading styles or if the problem runs deeper. Burley and resident Alan Deuso pointed to the lack of gravel in the base of the roads. Years of scrimping on the highway budget in order to preserve a level-funded budget, especially the gravel account, has caught up with the town.
“We’re going to have to pay the piper,” said Deuso.
Out of the meeting came a committee to look into options for the roads, both long term solutions that could include rebuilding most of Elmore’s 27 or so miles of roads, as well as short term solutions to keep the roads in the best shape they can until more permanent repairs can be made.
Anyone interested in learning more about the committee can call Alan Deuso at 888-6841. Deuso said he will forward names to the selectboard for approval as the committee forms.
Pictured Above: BELOW: The Elmore Selectboard listened to concerns from the community
regarding the conditions of the dirt roads in town, last Thursday, August 8. Smith photo