FARMINGTON — Selectmen approved spending nearly $46,000 from the Public Works Department budget to help cover the costs of the Whittier Road stabilization project, after the final cost of the project was approved by the board Tuesday night.

The project cost was finalized Tuesday night after selectmen approved a $258,947 construction bid on the project from a local contractor and the sole bidder on the project.

The total project, which includes the cost of a biological assessment, engineering and design work, will cost $452,072. The town needs to fund $154,645, but had only $108,755 available to contribute in the original budget.

Town Manager Richard Davis said in a statement that the gap is expected to be met by the Public Works Department doing $46,000 worth of in-kind work such as transporting rocks as material for the project.

Consequently, Davis said, the Public Works Department budget is expected to be close to exceeding its budget by the end of the year because of these unforeseen expenses. However, if it does, the town is allowed by law to have up a 15 percent overdraft in the public works budget.

A storm in August 2011 caused a 50-foot-wide, 300-foot-long chunk of earth to fall into the Sandy River from a banking that has eroded to 30 feet from the road. The town has been trying to stabilize it since then.

E.L Vining & Son, the Farmington-based contractor that won the bid, is expected to start construction by the end of the month, though a timeline has not been finalized yet. The project is expected to take 10 days to complete.

The town has only until Sept. 30 to complete the project, because of federal regulations designed to minimize effects on the endangered Atlantic salmon, which use the river as spawning ground.

The U.S. Forest Service, which is overseeing the project, initially estimated construction would start July 29 and last until Aug. 9., but the start was delayed while the town and federal agencies involved negotiated a project design.

E.L. Vining’s bid also included an estimated $84,369.15 incidental budget that would be spent only if the banking was more unstable than previously thought.

Town Manager Richard Davis said in a written statement that the bid was well under the written budget of $264,940 as a base budget and $107,170 in incidentals.
 
Kaitlin Schroeder — 861-9252
[email protected]