BERLIN — The planned expansion of the municipal sewer system could clear a key hurdle this week, though there are two more on the horizon.

Zoning Administrator Tom Badowski secured the first of five easements needed to extend the municipal sewer system across Route 62 and along Paine Turnpike North during a Tuesday meeting with representatives of Superior Development.

That leaves four easements — two of them involving property that is privately owned — left to obtain.

Assuming a pair of Thursday meetings with representatives of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce and 802 Honda go as anticipated the town will essentially have the easements it needs.

“We believe by the end of this week we should have the three privately owned properties on board with it,” Badowski said, noting that would only leave the Berlin Volunteer Fire Department and the Berlin School Board to deal with.

Neither are expected to stand in the way of the voter-approved project that will extend the municipal sewer system from the intersection of Route 62 and Paine Turnpike, along Paine Turnpike North to the intersection of Stewart Road.

Voters approved the $2.2 million sewer bond, 301-192, in August and town officials have been finalizing plans with their consulting engineer ever since.

Badowski said that work is now largely done, acquiring the necessary easements is underway, and the answers to two key questions should be coming soon.

One should be in hand in the next few days because the state Agency of Transportation has asked the town to finish the work it needs to do in the Route 62 right of way by Saturday.

Badowski said that work will determine whether a cost-saving proposal to reuse the water main crossing under Route 62 for the proposed sewer line is viable. If the elevations can accommodate a gravity sewer line — and preliminary indications suggest they can — it would avoid the significant expense and potential uncertainty of installing a second conduit at grade underneath the limited access highway.

Badowski said the “jack and bore” work that was done when the municipal water system was constructed in 2015 wouldn’t need to be replicated in order to relocate the pressurized water line just west of its current location.

The biggest question that remains with respect to the project – whether it will be eligible for favorable federal financing, like the water system was — won’t be answered in the next few days. However, the process for obtaining an answer from the U.S. Department of Agriculture will soon officially begin.

Badowski said the town’s consulting engineer is putting the finishing touches on an application he expects will be submitted well before the Dec. 21 deadline.

Though conventional financing is available for the project USDA Rural Development offers a longer term, lower interest option that would reduce the annual debt service that will be paid for by sewer users.

Tentatively slated for construction next year, the project will bypass a pump station near Shaw’s supermarket and extend the sewer line to an area of town that has been targeted for future development.

david.delcore @timesargus.com

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