Hancock projects moving forward

HANCOCK — On Nov. 15, the town of Hancock took another step toward recovery from Tropical Storm Irene when it settled on a contractor to repair a damaged bridge on the lower section of Churchville Road.
Town officials and Phelps Engineering Inc., awarded the bid to Champlain Construction at a selectboard meeting that Tuesday, for a project total of $259,688.90. The town expects that the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) will pay a large portion of that cost, while the rest will come from the town’s road budget.
Hancock road commissioner Jim Leno said he wasn’t surprised to see Champlain Construction come in with the lowest bid — the town has been working closely with the company to repair its other roads in the past couple of months. Leno said it was difficult in early September to find a company that was willing to move its heavy machinery into the valley on storm-damaged roads.
“When I called, within four hours they started moving equipment into town,” said Leno.
The project includes a repair to the bridge just off of Route 100 and a widening of the road just past the bridge. Representatives from Phelps Engineering said last month that the project would be carried out this winter, and that phase three of the project — the rebuilding of a badly damaged upper section of Churchville Road — would begin in the spring.
At last Tuesday’s meeting, Phelps Engineering representatives told the town that they were working with the Army Corps of Engineers to develop a plan for the upper Churchville repair, and that preliminary cost estimates would be available in December. Town officials in October stated that some tentative estimates had placed the repair cost at close to $1 million.
Currently, the only way out of the upper area of Churchville Road is on Fiske Road in Rochester, which officials from both towns feared might not make it through the winter. Granville spearheaded a project to upgrade and expand a class-four town highway that will provide an alternate route out of the area.
Granville road foreman Kevin Bagley said this Tuesday that the road is passable now, but that it will officially open next Monday.
Meanwhile, a section of Route 125 in Hancock was closed beginning last Saturday so crews could replace a culvert damaged by flooding from Tropical Storm Irene.
The area closed last Saturday and Sunday was about two miles west of the highway’s intersection with Route 100. The goal is to reopen Route 125 on Monday, Nov. 21.
On Tuesday state road officials said Route 125 was open the entire way from Hancock village to East Middlebury.
Reporter Andrea Suozzo is at [email protected].

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