Galestown wish list includes pond and road

By Ann Wilmer

It's fair to say that all anyone in Galestown wanted for Christmas was to have the millpond back. After months of delay, construction on the causeway has started and will continue until spring when something resembling a pond will be at or near completion. Bob Tenanty, director of Dorchester County Board of Public Works, said his best guess now is April but winter weather, especially freezing weather could alter plans. Residents of Galestown were delighted. Every person working on the project is wearing a Santa cap as far as Galestown denizens are concerned. And the start of construction on the replacement for the millpond dam is at least partially responsible for their goodwill toward men. You will hear no complaints about excavators and hear the noise from the roadway last week and this as the efforts of George and Lynch Construction Company workmen began to show considerable progress. Already workmen have removed the bulk of the flood debris and created a temporary road for equipment transport and waterway access. The company typically shuts down for the week between Christmas and New Year but, after January 1, there will be three crews assigned who will be working 6 days a week and 10 hours a day, weather permitting. While more delays have to be anticipated due to the winter start, residents say they will bear their frustration with equanimity. "Hopefully the weather will hold," said Tenanty. "Freezing and thawing would impact both earth compactment and pouring of concrete" and could occasion other delays.

"I asked Santa for this last Christmas but I must have been on his naughty list," Tenanty admitted. "I'm glad it's finally going. "It was frustrating. All the concerns that the inspectors brought up, we addressed," he said. Tenanty said that everybody had been working as hard as they could. At one point they even talked to the Corps of Engineers about a pontoon bridge in desperation. MDE's dam safety unit wanted the county to rebuild two roads that washed out as dam roads. Finally, county officials were successful in persuading Maryland Department of the Environment to allow them to reinstall Palmer's Mill Road as a regular road and not a dam road with the understanding that the upstream dam, on private land, is substandard. All that remains now is the wetlands permit. The county plans to install a larger-than-normal culvert that will meet the standard of a 25-year storm and then some because the dam could break. However, should that happen, there are not millions of gallons of water behind this dam. Even if it breaks, Tenanty said "the culvert could take that slug of water without washing out the road." The county is advertising, now, for a contractor and will open bids next month. MDE also wants a dam road installed on Cokesbury Road. When county officials asked FEMA for extra money to fund the dam road, FEMA refused the additional authorization because the road did not cross a dam before the storm. So that repair is in limbo for the time being but Tenanty said the county had promised the landowner, a farmer, some sort of temporary solution before planting season and they are working on that now. So this year, Tenanty is hoping for two more permits.

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