The Emergency Management Director for Conway – Conway Fire Chief Steve
Solomon – says River St. in East Conway is closed indefinitely after
last week’s flooding caused severe damage.
Solomon says rain and snow melt caused the road to flood overnight into
Wednesday morning and after the water receded Thursday morning, an
initial assessment determined there was significant damage but cars
could still drive down the center of the road in a single lane.
Barricades were later put back in place after it was determined the
water had washed out a culvert designed to divert water away from the
road that had either become blocked or failed for some other reason,
making the road unsafe to drive on at all.
The chief says temporary solutions to re-open the road are being looked
at, with the ultimate hope to replace the 4-foot diameter corrugated
steel culvert with one made of concrete. The current damage could be as
high as $300,000. The road is a popular connector over the Saco River
between East Conway and Fryeburg, Maine.
The chief says the road could be closed from weeks to months. He says
it’s a great example of why the town does not let people drive through
“With the water over that road, you could not see that the road was
collapsed underneath it and if you tried to drive through it and hit
that hole you could have been seriously injured or killed.” Solomon says
people who actually got out of their cars to move the barricades and
drive around them “are taking their lives in their hands”
Solomon says the flooding caused other damage in New Hampshire and it’s
hoped Governor Maggie Hassan will petition the federal government for a
disaster declaration that could bring federal dollars for repairs.
Conway Town Manager Earl Sires says the town will pursue FEMA funding if
possible. He says he will brief Conway selectmen on possible repair
options Tuesday afternoon.