Lowell faces lawsuit over closed bridge

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copyright the Chronicle December 13, 2017

 

by Elizabeth Trail

 

LOWELL — Arlon Warner and Scott Tallman are suing the town of Lowell over closing the Kempton Hill bridge.

The Orleans County Sheriff served a summons at the town offices on November 27. The town has until December 17 to respond.

According to the complaint, which was forwarded to the Chronicle by Mr. Warner’s attorney, Mr. Warner and Mr. Tallman live on the Kempton Hill Road, which connects the Mines Road and the Valley Road.

The bridge was closed on September 8 after a state inspection in August found it to be beyond repair and in need of replacement.

Other people who live on that road can drive out the other end. But Mr. Warner and Mr. Tallman live between the closed bridge and the hill.

That left the two men worried about winter access to their house, which now can be reached only by driving up and down an extremely steep slope — almost 17 degrees — that’s icy during the winter months.

East Engineering of Hinesburg estimated the cost of a new bridge at $474,000.

On October 17, saying that he “wasn’t comfortable spending that kind of money,” Lowell Select Board Chair Richard Pion suggested that townspeople be asked to vote on two articles — first, whether they wanted to spend money on a bridge, and second whether they wanted to see the road discontinued.

The complaint asks the town to fix the bridge “as it is unequivocally required to do by statute.”

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