Rains wreck havoc on Royalston roads

  • Recent rains washed out one lane of Route 32/Warwick Road in Royalston. Staff photo/Greg Vine

  • Recent rains washed out one lane of Route 32/Warwick Road in Royalston. Staff photo/Greg Vine

  • A section of Brown Road in Royalston was completely washed out in recent heavy rains, leading to a closure of the roadway. Staff photo/Greg Vine

For The Athol Daily News
Published: 7/21/2021 1:49:43 PM
Modified: 7/21/2021 1:49:49 PM

ROYALSTON — Heavy rains this past weekend caused extensive damage to roadways throughout the region, including Royalston. At the Selectboard meeting Tuesday, July 20, Chair Deb D’Amico praised the town’s emergency response personnel for their quick reaction to the damage.

D’Amico told fellow board members and citizens in attendance, “(Emergency Response Director) Jim Barclay spoke with a MEMA (Mass. Emergency Management Agency) representative today. They went around and looked at some of the damage.

“Tom Musco, who is the deputy emergency management person, gave me the paperwork to file with MEMA, and he tonight told me the estimate of the amount of the damage so far is $300,000 to $400,000.”

D’Amico said she was also informed that the estimated amount of damage from the storms statewide didn’t meet the threshold of the Federal Emergency Management Agency to declare the state a disaster, “and the state itself is not likely to declare a disaster.”

“This kind of leaves us holding the bag here,” she said. “The concern is this isn’t a wide enough emergency to trip any kind of funding.”

As a result, D’Amico explained, Barclay recommended that the town reach out to state Sen. Jo Comerford and state Rep. Susannah Whipps, then added that Comerford’s office had already contacted her to offer assistance in dealing with the situation.

“The governor has earmarked federal money for bridge and culvert repairs,” she said. “What we want our legislators to do is to pressure him to dedicate a portion of that money to this particular emergency.”

“If we don’t get that money,” said board member Roland Hamel, “some of our roads are not going to be repaired correctly because we don’t have the funds to do it. We can do the best we can to fill them in. Some of these roads were newly paved that were destroyed or damaged.”

Hamel identified Warwick, Brown, and Bliss Hill roads as among those sustaining the worst damage, along with nearly all the dirt roads in town. Brown Road is currently completely closed to traffic.

Greg Vine can be reached at gvineadn@gmail.com

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