BRISTOL — Town officials on Thursday morning lifted the boil-water order that has been in effect for the Bristol municipal water system since Sunday.
After Chairman Joel Bouvier and Town Administrator Bill Bryant came across dirty water in the town’s fire house, they issued a boil-water order for fear that the town’s contact tank — where chlorine is applied to the town’s water system — was inundated by the New Haven River on Sunday when Tropical Storm Irene was at her worst. As a result, the town’s water system was blown out and sterilized.
At an emergency Bristol Selectboard meeting on Wednesday evening, the board announced that the first bacteria test on the town’s water system had come back clean. On Thursday morning the results of the second test also came back clean and officials declared the town’s drinking water safe to drink.
Many roads in Bristol were hit hard by the storm, but Lincoln Road was hit the hardest.
“Our biggest loss was Lincoln Road, the main road to Lincoln,” said Bouvier. “We lost about 200 feet and that’s probably going to be in excess of $75,000 (to repair the road). Town-wide we had about $75,000 to $100,000 worth of damage.”
Lincoln Road is currently under construction, said Bouvier.
“We’re hoping to have that open to one lane by the end of the day Friday, but we’re not sure,” he said.
It won’t be until next week that the road is open to two-way traffic, said Bristol road foreman Peter Bouvier.
Bristol officials are closely documenting the town’s damage, said Joel Bouvier, and they’ll apply for funding through the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). He also said that he strongly encourages residents to report damage, even if it’s minor, by calling 211, a United Way-staffed information and helpline.
The other town roads that were hit hard but have since been repaired are:
• Lower Notch Road, which was washed out near Hewitt Bridge and had fallen power lines blocking traffic.
• Upper Notch Road, which had downed power lines obstructing traffic.
• Carlstrom Road near the Stoplight Bridge, which was washed out.
• The South Street Bridge, which has long been closed to traffic. One of its pillars was exposed due to strong waters plunging down the New Haven River. The pillar has already been reinforced, said Bouvier.
As for Route 17, Starksboro resident Bob Hall, who lives on the state road, said that the road has been closed from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. near Memorial Park.
“When I went to come over to Lincoln this morning, the road was closed,” he said.
Hall said that during the storm the big culvert at Memorial Park was blocked by trees, causing Baldwin Creek to flood over Route 17. The rush of water collapsed part of the road.
The Vermont Agency of Transportation’s website indicates that the road is closed for a 2.4 mile stretch in Bristol and Starksboro. The newer Google map on the website, however, shows that it’s open but reduced to one lane for a short distance just before Dan Sargeant Road.
The organizing committee for the Green Mountain Stage Race, an annual bicycle event, is hoping that Route 17 is open by starting time around 8 a.m. on Sunday, Sept. 4.
“We’re very aware of the race … we know that we can get the road ready,” said Sue Minter, VTrans Deputy Secretary. “Right now the road may be temporarily closed to pave it so it can be ready. We wouldn’t allow the race if it would impede our efforts … So the team has evaluated that (the race) won’t get in our way or the folks restoring power.
“These events are not only wonderful for the races themselves, but they actually stimulate a lot of tourist activity and we’re doing everything we can to keep those kinds of activities happening as long as they don’t affect our emergency response.”
The route for the stage race has changed due to flooding damage on Route 125. The new route, said Bouvier, will begin at Mount Abraham Union High School, head north up Burpee Road onto Monkton Road, which turns into Bristol Road, and then head east onto States Prison Road towards Starksboro. The route will lead riders to Starksboro and send them south down Route 116. At Route 17, the riders will hang a left up into the mountains.
Bouvier indicated that about 800 riders will head out from Mount Abe in close to a dozen different waves.
Reporter Andrew Stein is at [email protected]