A deluge that socked the area last week left behind a couple of large washouts along the Kennebec River Rail Trail in Farmingdale.

Augusta Director of Community Services Leif Dahlin, who sits on the trail’s board of directors, said trail officials meet Wednesday to come up with a plan for fixing the washouts. In the meantime, the sections have been cordoned off with barricades to prevent people from falling into the holes.

“You have to walk around them and pay attention,” Dahlin said.

The plan to fix the erosion will require coordination with the state because the railroad tracks in the area also were affected, Dahlin said. He said the washouts are a first for the trail.

“In my 15 years here, this is the first time I can recall anything like this,” Dahlin said.

The Sept. 30 storm dumped up to 6.5 inches of water on the region in less than 24 hours. Augusta City Engineer Lionel Cayer, who serves the trail’s board of supervisors, said both washouts occurred in Farmingdale, between mile markers 4 and 5. Cayer said a granite box culvert became clogged with silt and “washed out the trail and tracks.”


The second site, a sinkhole, occurred in a spot where there is a retaining wall between the railroad tracks and the trail.

“It’s still a bit of a mystery,” Cayer said.

He thinks the sinkhole, which he said was smaller but much deeper than the washout, was created by a drainage manhole in the trail.

“It just appeared to me that perhaps the drainage manhole was not sealed properly,” Cayer said. “In this high-intensity rain event the soils under the trail were exported through the structure and out the outlet, which caused a big sinkhole.”

Cayer hopes the washouts will be filled and repaved within a few weeks. The trail is plowed during the winter months.

“Unless they’re repaired they’re going to be an impediment to snow removal this winter,” Cayer said.


Dahlin said the rail trail washouts are but two of a few strange events to come about because of the rain. A sinkhole also developed at Mill Park, near the dog park, in an area that lacks any obvious running water.

“We’ve filled that in, but it was another anomaly,” Dahlin said.

He said the rain also raised havoc, or wood chips, at McCalls Park off Eastern Avenue. The chips, used for protection around the playground, floated over a border and into a catch basin.

“We lost half of our wood chips,” Dahlin said. “I’ve never seen anything like that.”

Severe storms typically take down trees or wash out roads, Dahlin said, but the rainstorm spared Augusta those more serious problems.

“It was a very different event,” he said. “There were just interesting things I’ve not seen in my 30 years.”

Craig Crosby — 621-5642


Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

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