Save the date! The Orange and Canaan Conservation Commissions (thanks, Tracy Hutchins!) have arranged for an energy training manager to show us how to save money and energy with our homes. The 90-minute presentation begins at 6:00pm at the Orange Town House. The sponsor, NHSaves, is a collaboration of the state’s electric and gas utilities. See the flyer below for details. As always, we’ll put this on the town calendar.
In other news, Sandi tells us that the Mascoma Ecumenical Council has provided Thanksgiving food baskets for those in the area who are in need. They’ve been doing this good work since 1974. If you know someone who might need a basket, print and fill out this form, then mail it in by November 15. (The address is on the form.)
The supervisors of the checklist will meet from 7:00 pm to 7:30 pm on Friday, October 25, 2019, in the Town House for the purpose of registering new voters and correcting the checklist.
October 25 is the last time registered voters may change their party affiliation prior to the Presidential Primary. New voters may continue to register until election day, as permitted by law.
As always, the meeting and deadline appear on the Town calendar.
By the way: If you know someone who should be getting this, please forward it to them. And let them know they can sign up on Orangenh.US for email updates by emailing me: email@example.com.
Update from Road Agnet Scott Sanborn:
Repair work on ditches and shoulders along the bus route has been completed on Tuttle Hill Rd and work is now underway on Cross Road. While the equipment is in that neck of the woods, we will be smoothing up a couple spots on Williams Road, then the crews will be moving up to Tug Mountain and New Colony Roads, probably later this week.
After my most recent discussions with Richard Remacle, we feel it is very unlikely that we'll be able to get much into the permanent repairs this fall (which is no surprise), so our focus over the next 2-3 weeks will be to improve on the temporary repairs over the badly damaged sections of Tug & New Colony, widening to a full two lanes with a little shoulder where needed for safety, replacing the more critical culverts that were damaged, and beefing up and grading the surface so it will handle winter. This will all still qualify as "initial response" work under the FEMA guidelines, so the costs will not count toward the permanent repair costs.
Updates on the FEMA process: I took part in the "exploratory call" with the FEMA "program delivery coordinator" (along with Sandi, Paul Hatch and one or two others from FEMA/HSEM) last Monday, and the Recovery Scope Meeting, where we will begin to hammer out the details of the repair "projects" is scheduled for next Monday (9am at the Town House).
The DOT’s Dennis Ford wrote Dorothy:
Contracted paving is complete.
We have a little to spread with a grader in a few weeks, mainly in Canaan.
Thursday and Friday we will be adding gravel shoulders and driveway aprons. We also will layout centerline for striping by our Traffic Bureau before winter. I do not know if they will reapply the white fog line on the edge of pavement, last I heard they were only applying this to numbered state highways. At 22 cents a foot I believe it’s a budgetary thing.
This should complete our work this week.
Thanks to you and the great people of the Town of Orange for the hospitality over the past two and half months.
If you or Scott need anything in your endeavors of rebuilding your town roads you know how to get hold of me.
It began this morning and should continue through Wednesday.
And you’ve probably heard that Canaan found the source of its major water leak: under Route 4. We’ll keep you posted of any resulting delays.
Road Agent Scott Sanborn says that, while it’s unlikely that all the road repairs will be done before winter, our roads will be ready for winter plowing. And every road will have two lanes, he says.
Crews are currently working now on the Tuttle Hill Road shoulders. Although damage to Tuttle Hill Road wasn’t as severe as the damage to other town roads, the cost of its repairs is lower. “We are holding off on the most expensive work until we have access to FEMA funds,” Scott reports. Besides, Tuttle Hill Road is on the bus route, so repairs to that road are a priority.
The Town is still working with FEMA on getting funding. On September 16, the agency’s Paul Hatch has a call scheduled with Scott; other Town officials may be in on that call. One of the purposes is to schedule a meeting with FEMA in Orange to begin the formal paperwork.
Meanwhile, repaving continues on Cardigan Mountain Road. We’ll keep you posted on progress.
DOT Maintenance Supervisor Dennis Ford gave this update to Dorothy Heinrichs:
I spoke to the contractor and we are still on schedule for September 9-10 for pavement reclaim. We have and are laying out center line and existing elevations this week. We also put up a message board today by the transfer station.
The paving contractor is still committed to the week of the 16th. Any exact dates with them is a moving target with rain dates between now and then.
I will try and keep you posted on any future developments.
Alasdair Dunlap-Smith took beautiful photos, including a few spectacular ones with his drone. Check out the pictures in the Images section. And we’ll be adding more in the days that follow.
What a great afternoon. Even Mother Nature was on her best behavior (but then, she kinda owed us). The Stacey compound has never looked better, which is saying a lot. And Schoolhouse No. 2 on the Collins-Laines spread proved appropriately educational.
Thanks to the Orange Historical Commission and everyone who put a year’s effort into the event. And check the calendar for more delights to come.
Last night the New Hampshire Department of Safety received word that the President declared a major disaster in New Hampshire for the July 11 storm. The designation allows public entities in Grafton County and elsewhere—including the Town of Orange—to apply for help.
Orange Road Agent Scott Sanborn has been working with other Town officials to submit a formal Request for Public Assistance (RPA). They have 30 days.
So we can honestly say that July 11 was a day that will live in Orange history: a thousand-year weather event (officially declared by the National Weather Service), a genuine disaster (declared by the White House), and a heroic recovery (declared by all of us proud citizens of Orange).
Speaking of history, make sure you show up tomorrow at four o’clock for the Town photo at the Staceys on Tuttle Hill Road, and the ice cream social immediately following at Schoolhouse No. 1 on the Collins-Laines’ compound.
Dorothy Heinrichs writes:
Dennis Ford, DOT District II Maintenance Supervisor, reports that as of last night all the culverts on Cardigan Mountain Road that were damaged or destroyed have been replaced. Today and Monday the crew will continue working on the north side of the road at the big new culvert between Tuttle Hill and Town House Roads. If the road is closed during these final stages, it should be for relatively short periods . Sections of washed-out road that have been repaired will be topped off with a layer of asphalt.
In September (currently planned for the 9th or 10th), the remaining sections of the badly damaged Cardigan Mountain Road will be “reclaimed” between Town House Road and the new bridge. This will require the road to be closed from 8am to 4pm on both days. The old asphalt and the base of the road beneath it will be reground and replaced. The following week, two layers of asphalt will be laid down. The road will remain open as a one-lane road for that section on those days.
We’ve all been wondering how the Town’s road repairs will be paid for. Yesterday, Governor Sununu signed a letter to the President requesting a major disaster declaration for Grafton County. If the President signs the declaration, Towns in Grafton County and specifically Orange will be eligible for FEMA funding to help the State and Town defray the costs.
Chair, Orange Selectboard
From Scott Sanborn:
While NHDOT has been working furiously to open up Cardigan Mountain Road, Orange has been a bit of a holding pattern as we have been waiting for townwide access for Remacle Construction, and even more critically, to get confirmation that the event-wide damages meet the dollar threshold to qualify for federal disaster aid. While we obviously need to make extensive permanent repairs regardless, the manner in which we go about this is dependent upon whether aid will be available or we're stuck with the bill ourselves as a town.
A couple of weeks ago, we toured the town with FEMA and state emergency management personnel, and they seemed to think we were on target with our preliminary damage estimates of just over $900,000. They have since inspected other towns affected by the flooding and on Monday we got the confirmation that the total damages qualify, and the wheels are in motion at the state government level to get that process started for a federal disaster declaration which kicks in the ability to obtain federal funding to aid in rebuilding. While there is nothing signed and delivered yet, the primary hurdle has been passed, and we are now fairly confident that financial aid will be in the offing for us.
There are several immediate tasks we will be jumping on over the next couple of weeks regardless of the federal aid situation, now that we are very close to having townwide access again (without the half-hour detour!). First will be to improve the temporary repairs on New Colony Road and extend them to the turnaround where it turns to Class VI. At the same time, we will be working our way around town making shoulder repairs as necessary to ensure that the mail carriers can access all mailboxes in town so normal service can resume. The next priority will be to stabilize the stream/river banks in several areas where they have been scoured out next to roads, or in one case, where a new stream channel was created by the flooding. We have emergency authorization from NHDES (Dept. of Environmental Services) to conduct this work, and it is time sensitive.
In the meantime, the road agent has been, and continues to work on preparing a detailed list of repairs needed that will be used for the FEMA funding requests and for putting projects out to bid which may be required (even though we continue to maintain a contract with Remacle Construction). Part of that includes making any upgrades to drainage structures that will be economically feasible as we go along. This past rain event was purportedly classified by the National Weather Service as a "1,000 year event", or more accurately termed, as having a 0.1% annual chance of occurring. While no engineering/design standards anywhere call for specifically designing for that extreme, these "off the charts" weather events seem to happen more and more frequently, and we will do what we can to mitigate and prepare.
We thank the residents for their continued assistance and patience as we prepare to rebuild.
Scott Sanborn, Road Agent
The DOT crew arrived at Cardigan Mountain and Tuttle Hill Roads early this morning.Read More
Dennis Ford, maintenance supervisor for DOT, says that due to the torrential rains, Cardigan Mountain Road between the Town House and Tuttle Hill Road is closed until tomorrow morning. The rain prevented the crew from completing the culvert work. So: the road wasn’t washed out again, and the repairs can continue.
We’ll take good news where we get it.
Because of the road construction, the Town Clerk can’t get to the Town House. So Town Clerk hours have been moved to Thursday, August 8, 4:30 to 6:30.
As usual, the change is reflected in the calendar.
Town Clerk Amy Tirpaeck writes:
Kami Stone and I have completed our certification training and are ready for office hours (with your patience as we gain experience with our new roles)!!
Standard Town Clerk Office Hours include the first Saturday morning and all Wednesday early evenings.
Saturday, August 3: 9-11:00am
Wednesdays, August 7, 14, 21, 28: 4:30-6:30pm
As always, you’ll find Town Clerk Hours and the other Orange events in the Calendar.
Thanks to Doug and Trish Weekes, who recorded the rainfall amount, the July 11 rains constitute a thousand-year event. Vanessa Urango of the NH Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Management sent the Weekes’ data to the National Weather Service for validation.
The feds quickly validated the data. “It is now the highest rainfall total reported!” Vanessa wrote. “And for reference, we looked at NWS recurrence intervals for rainfall events, and it appears that the rainfall that fell at that location in Orange (where approximately 5.58 inches of the 6.83 total fell in a span of 2 hours) is a 1,000+ year event!”
Five and a half inches in two hours. One officially for the record books.
Selectboard Chair Dorothy Heinrichs writes:
Please join us 9:30am Monday, August 5, at the intersection of Cardigan Mountain Road and New Colony Road for a special ribbon cutting.
For three weeks, teams of DOT workers have shown up before 6am and stayed late to replace this vital connector and open the road for residents and for visitors to Cardigan Mountain State Park. They deserve our thanks.
The Commissioner of NHDOT will there, and I’m inviting our state reps and state senator, as well as any interested press.
We’ve come such a long way in such a short time since the flash flood of July 11, thanks to our own Town volunteers and our state. I can’t wait to celebrate.
First, the good news: the bridge work is going well, with the new guardrail on the downstream side already in place. The upstream guardrail is due for installment on Thursday. Meanwhile, workers are armoring the culvert below the bridge with stone.
Which means that this Friday, August 2, the bridge open to two-way traffic over gravel. A small ribbon cutting is planned; DOT Commissioner Victoria Shaheen has been invited.
Now the inevitable news: the road isn’t done. The crews will be turning to culvert repair along Cardigan Mountain Road. The work should last into next week, during which the road will be open for local traffic only. From 8am to 4pm each day, residents may have to wait as long as 15 minutes to get through.
After that, repaving. Five inches of new pavement will be laid down sometime in late summer or early fall, from the Town House to the bridge.