Dorset seeks solutions for flood-prone area

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EAST DORSET — Dorset Town has issued a request for proposals to study and recommend solutions for a flood-prone area off Route 7A near Brookside Drive and Read Farm Lane, not far from where the Battenkill and Mad Tom Brook meet.

Over the past year, flooding caused by storms and run-off events has "severely restricted access to five ... homes on Brookside Drive and caused temporary access issues" for almost a score of homes on Read Farm Lane, according to the RFP. The Chantecleer Restaurant, which sits between the two roads on Route 7A, has flooded three times during the same approximate time period, most recently in April.

During that same storm event this past spring, a nearby railroad bridge and a Route 7A bridge "were overtopped with floodwaters," according to the RFP. "These structures currently restrict the Batten Kill's ability to reach the major wetland and floodplain area located between Vermont Route 7 and Vermont Route 7A. As a result, the floodwater backs up to the north, the Batten Kill breaks its banks, overtops Brookside Drive and floods [the restaurant] from the west and north."

The eventual winner of the contract — worth as much as $63,600, most of which will come from federal grant funds — will be tasked with compiling a report that analyzes the area's conditions and assesses options "to mitigate flood frequency and extents," including increasing the sizes of the two bridges and building new drainage structures.

The Dorset Select Board authorized the solicitation of bids at its Oct. 15 meeting. Proposals are due Dec. 9, and the town anticipates awarding the contract on Dec. 21.

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Proposals will be evaluated by staff from entities that include the town government, Bennington County Regional Commission and Vermont Agency of Natural Resources, according to the RFP.

Once completed, the report may be used to pursue federal funds for the construction of flood-mitigation projects in the study area, Town Manager Rob Gaiotti told the board at its October meeting.

The contract will entail a public meeting with the board to discuss the report and field questions. The RFP anticipates a draft report being completed in July 2020, with a final iteration presented publicly the following month.

A copy of the RFP is available on the town's website, dorsetvt.org.

Contact Luke Nathan at lnathan

@benningtonbanner.com.


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