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Too much water, too many miles of bad road

SHARON — Todd Golden came home from work after a nightshift March 7 at 3:30 a.m. — and found the basement of his Modley Road home flooded with 3 feet of water. The area had been drenched with heavy rain and had been hit hard by an ice storm. Many homeowners had trees down, driveways and dirt roads washed out and had to seek help from the town to get the water out of their homes.Golden, who works for the state Department of Transportation, feels the flooding could have been prevented had the drainage systems of the town’s road been better prepared and maintained. He believes the town’s road crew is at fault and he intends to raise accusations at a meeting of the Board of Selectmen scheduled for April 12 at 5:30 p.m. at Town Hall. He claims the drainage ditches along the sides of Modley Road had deteriorated to the point where they were no longer ditches, and the pipes that the water was supposed to run into were blocked by large pieces of ice. Golden said he made a complaint to First Selectman Bob Loucks, who is in charge of the road crew and road maintenance, asking for the crew to come and dig out the ditches and free the pipes from the blockage. The road crew did come, bringing with them their equipment, but Golden says the job was not done properly. “They had a grader, two backhoes and three dump trucks, but they never opened up the ditches and they claimed that they couldn’t move the ice,” he said. Loucks says that the road crew did the best that they could given the situation. “We can’t bust every snowbank out. It’s unfortunate, but a lot of basements were flooded. We had washouts all over the town. We lost culverts — we even had a landslide on Sharon Valley Road,” he said. Regardless of the amount of damage that was done to the roads and the amount of flooding there was to deal with, Loucks said he still tried to fix the problems on Modley Road. “My road crew went up there and tried to satisfy [Mr. Golden]. They tried to scrape the ice out of the roads. They were pressing down so hard with the grader that the front end got lifted right off,” he explained. Golden believes that the work on the roads should have been done before the winter storm. “You don’t just wait for something to happen and then do the work,” he said. “[Loucks is] doing it, but he’s not doing it fast enough.” The drainage pipes near Golden’s house on Modley Road were eventually dug out by Florien Palmer of Palmer Construction LLC. “It was done by a 68-year-old man with a shovel, and they’re going to tell me they couldn’t do it with that machine?” Golden asked. Golden said he will make a request that he be added to the agenda of the selectmen’s meeting for April 12 so he can present his complaints in a public forum. He said that other town residents who are concerned about the condition of the roads will attend as well.

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