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Feds to earmark $2M for bridge and road repairs in White Mountain National Forest

CAMPTON — The Federal Highway Administration will earmark $2 million to fix roads and bridges in the White Mountain National Forest that were damaged when Tropical Storm Irene ripped through New Hampshire in the summer of 2011.

The storm, which had been a hurricane before moving into New Hampshire, brought heavy rains and flooding from the Saco, Rocky Branch and Swift rivers. The national forest was shut down two days before the storm arrived.
Heavy rain and strong winds brought extensive damage to the region’s road network, with roads owned by federal, state and local governments badly damaged.

The federal funding that will go toward repairing national forest lands comes from a $2 billion disaster relief bill.
Federal roads to be repaired include Slippery Brook, Rocky Branch and East Branch roads.

After the storm, U.S. Forest Service officials estimated that $10 million in damage was done to the national forest infrastructure.Parts of of the Kancamagus Highway and Route 302 in Hart’s Location, along with part of Route 112 in Bath, Route 16 in Pinkham Notch, and Route 49 in Thornton sustained heavy damage.

A bridge on Route 302 over the Sawyer River was washed out, with an estimated cost for replacement of $3 million. Loon Bridge in Lincoln collapsed during the storm, with replacement costs estimated at $6 million.More than $11 million in Federal Emergency Management Agency grants were made to help repair damage in affected communities.
In announcing the funding, U.S. Rep. Carol Shea Porter said the funding would mean the roads “can be returned to good condition and remain safe for travelers.”

Shea Porter plans to meet with hikers and Appalachian Mountain Club leaders and tour the White Mountain forest on Friday.

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