OFFICE OF THE SELECTBOARD
Town of Halifax, Vermont
SPECIAL MEETING MINUTES
October 17, 2013
Call to Order
The meeting was called to order at 11:00 am onsite at Halifax Bridge #37, Old County Road North, near the intersection with Green River Road and cross-road Moss Hollow. Board members in attendance were Lewis Sumner, Earl Holtz, and Edee Edwards. Others in attendance were Brad Rafus, Bill Rossingnol of Holden Engineering, Jim Matteau from Windham Regional Commission (WRC), and Todd Menees from Vermont State Agency of Natural Resources (ANR).
Edwards noted that John LaFlamme had called that morning to follow up on the co-EMD reports, answering Edwards’ questions. LaFlamme wanted to know if he and/or Ross still needed to come to the next Selectboard Tuesday meeting. Both Holtz and Sumner noted that they had yet to fully absorb the report, so they do want them to remain on the agenda for the first meeting in November.
Community Development Block Grants
Since Todd Menees had not arrived, Edwards began a discussion with Jim Matteau, who is working with WRC on a part-time basis, to assist towns in applying for Community Development Block Grants. On July 2, the Halifax Selectboard had voted to create Letters of Intent to submit grant applications for 3 projects:
· 3112 Green River Road property for hazardous material cleanup or possible buyout, which the Selectboard subsequently voted at their July 16th meeting not to pursue,
· River Debris cleanup: to assess if the ongoing erosion of trees is a concern for future infrastructure damage, and address that, if it is, and
· Disaster Recovery planning, to hold town-wide discussions about the damage from Irene, and whether we would respond to future disaster differently, especially if the same infrastructure were damaged catastrophically again.
Matteau indicated that about $4M in two pieces with rolling application dates, has now been made available. It is a 90% state -10% local match, with in kind work allowed for the local match. He wanted to attend this meeting to see if Todd Menees would do a preliminary assessment about debris removal. Often, leaving the trees on the river bank actually helps to stabilize them, and getting grant funding for those kind of projects is not common.
Matteau indicated that we would be more likely to get a grant for Disaster Planning.
Matteau also asked about outstanding payments. We noted our open appeal on Deer Park Bridge, whereby the extension of the bridge length was denied by FEMA. It may be possible to get a grant for the variance in cost that FEMA is denying. Edwards said she would follow up with Christina Moore of Storm Petrel to confirm if this bridge was on the State’s list of potential projects. Matteau noted that there would be work involved including getting an environmental review even if the project was completed, but that this may help towns fund mitigation work.
Edwards also noted that she would follow up in Intelligrants to create applications and add Jim Matteau to help with those.
Bridge #37 Repair Work (non-Irene)
Bill Rossignol gave some preliminary information about the engineering design questions while we waited for Todd Menees to arrive. He noted that they had excavated a few weeks ago, with the help of our Highway Department staff, to assess the bridge abutments. There is a small concrete cap on an original stone abutment. The concrete is only 12-20” thick, but it is not cracked, which means that it is stable. This is good news.
He discussed that the new steel will be 30” tall instead of 24” tall; will also require a bearing plate between the steel and the abutment of around 3”; and that they will likely want to rehab the concrete, which might mean 6-8” of additional height. All told, the new bridge deck may be 1-1½ ft. higher. They will need to deal with the downslope which is towards the north end of the bridge, where water will naturally drain. The road grade will be different, and we will likely need additional large stone/rip rap of 12-18” along the top and especially in the northeast corner. There is dirt against the steel today on the southwest corner of the bridge, which will lead to corrosion. This could be mitigated by extending the back wall, and stabilizing the bank with fill and fabric. They may plan to move some of the existing rip rap around a bit.
Todd Menees arrive at 11:30 AM. Bill revisited the information above, noting that there will be work below the top of the grade. This would require a stream alteration permit. He said that the hydraulic study showed this bridge was high enough that it would withstand 100-year flood levels. No damage had been reported by the property owner on the southwestern end of the bridge, to the recollection of the Selectboard members, during Irene.
Menees asked about a temporary bridge, due to the access needs for residents. Sumner noted that there are 3 household on the first property over the bridge which includes rental units; the second dwelling is seasonal. Holtz noted that we have been in contact with the homeowners, and are planning a footbridge. The possibility of having a fire engine left over the bridge before the work began was discussed. A parking area could be created on the north side of the bridge. Several trees will need to removed off both sides of the north end of the bridge.
Menees questioned whether a crane could go over the bridge, or how the work would be done. Rossingnol noted that the construction firm would need to get concrete to the far side of the bridge, but that they’d be unlikely to want to leave a crane or other equipment over there during construction. There is no other egress for vehicles.
In response to questions from Edwards, Menees noted that this meeting would help ascertain if a stream alteration permit would be needed, and it appears a general permit will be. Later there will be an application for the permit, which the Town could put into the contract as being the responsibility of the successful bridge construction bidder. Then, ANR will send someone to the preconstruction meeting.
In response to a question from Menees, Rossingnol noted that the design work was about 40% done.
Menees answered a question from Edwards about the need to also contact the Army Corp of Engineers. Menees said that interagency coordination means that he would notify them, or vice versa. The Army Corp of Engineers is concerned about the high water mark, whereas the State is concerned even further up the bank to the “top of bank,” which is more stringent. As design progressed, the Corp might issue a waiver or write off of the need for a permit, depending on the plans.
Menees also mentioned the possibility of various options for stream fording; this would trigger a Corp of Engineering permit requirement. The contractors, likely at preconstruction meeting, would then have to email Menees and get all needed permits. We could also assume a ford would be needed, and start contacting the landowners now. Fording options would include hard armor, or driving across the tops of rocks; log mat –cables; stone fill; but a skidder bridge wouldn’t work here as it’s too wide. In the end, there seemed to be a consensus that including a ford on the plans up front would be wise.
Menees, Matteau, and Holtz volunteered to go look at the river debris situation along Green River. Holtz offered to send notes from the trip.
Hearing of Visitors
No other visitors were present.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:58 am.