Lebanon Flash Flood Damage Now Stands at $6.5 Million

Lebanon — City officials estimate it will cost $6.5 million to repair city infrastructure as a result of damage caused by last week’s flash flooding, with the lion’s share going to repair washed out Slayton Hill Road.

“It’s a very significant number,” City Manager Greg Lewis said late Friday after his office released its first official preliminary estimate of the total cost following a tour of damaged areas earlier in the week with representatives from the Federal Emergency Management Agency and the New Hampshire Division of Homeland Security.

The city’s Department of Public Works Department made the preliminary estimates, Lewis said, but it has yet to be submitted to FEMA for its review.

“There’s no doubt it’s a hefty number,” Lewis said, “but we’re going to examine those costs, and get it more definitive.”

In Lewis’ experience, FEMA has “more often than not” lowered cost estimates, he said, and will cover 75 percent of costs once the city has qualified for aid.

Reconstruction for Slayton Hill Road, which was washed out during the flooding, is projected at $3.4 million, according to Lewis.

Fire Chief Chris Christopoulos Jr. issued a storm recovery update Friday that said “Slayton Hill Road has been reopened to one lane of traffic for residents who live there.”

The Lebanon Municipal Airport, which “suffered major damage in the form of road washouts, detention pond failure and buckling of pavement in the rear areas of the hangar facilities,” received $1.7 million in damage, but has “no safety concerns associated with the damage.”

According to a news release from Lewis’ office, other estimates include: $900,000 for highway infrastructure; $300,000 to restore Storrs Hill; $100,000 of damage in the form of road washouts and the destruction of two monitoring wells at the city landfill; $50,000 to repair Goodwin Park; $7,000 on water mains on Meriden Road; $5,000 to fix small leaks in Lebanon City Hall and the Lebanon Library.

On Wednesday, July 24, at 6 p.m., there will be a public information meeting at City Hall in the council chambers to discuss the city’s response to the storm, and an update on damage assessment, repairs, public safety and long-term recovery planning, he added.

As of Wednesday, the city has spent $137,000 on emergency response and temporary fixes, the news release said.

Lewis also said the totals do not include damage to the Rivermere Community Housing, which is estimated at $400,000. He is confident, however, that “a mix of private support and a mix of fund options and FEMA consideration” will aid Rivermere, which was opened only a week before flooding forced out residents.

“That was a great project,” Lewis said, “and then, to have this happen. The city is really supportive of Rivermere.”

City Councilor Karen Liot Hill said the damage was unprecedented and extensive, but also presented the city with the opportunity to learn from the disaster and rebuild together.

“It’s going to be a lot of work, but we can learn throughout our neighbors in the Upper Valley who had to respond to (Tropical Storm) Irene,” Hill said. “We can use this situation as a chance to prepare for the future.”

In Windsor, Town Manager Tom Marsh said in an email that the town has had visits from FEMA and the Agency of Transportation, and received guidance on how to proceed with repairs.

Marsh said “in Paradise Park, the carriage road from the lean-to to the bridge on Hubbard Road is closed. Some serious erosion was done to the road and the Vermont Association of Snow Travelers bridge was completely wiped out.”

Zack Peterson can be reached at 603-727-3211 or zpeterson@vnews.com.