#ThisIsOurRoad Romagna takes off!

Dear friends of our road,

We really appreciate all the support you have given us so far in our campaign to rebuild our road (and hopefully others like it) in our community. We have actually begun work in these last days so we’ve let the saws, sweat and excavator do the talking. We’ll share more about progress there in a minute, but first we’d would like to address a question a lot of you have asked: how can it be there isn’t some kind of public assistance for you in this situation? The answer is complicated and, unfortunately, rather depressing. Just like we’ve seen during COVID, lack of public support mainly comes down to governance and funding in our underserved rural community.

Our road is a public road but is considered a secondary road among many others in a rural township. The township is actually one of the largest by land area in the region heavily hit by the flooding and landslides. It has a huge swath of damage in its jurisdiction and decades of problems with depopulation and economic downturn, despite recent new interest in the area. The township seat is in Civitella di Romagna, but there are more than a dozen little hamlets or “fractions”, sometimes consisting of just a few houses, spread all across the township. At the worst point for the landslides on May 19, every one of those fractions was cut off from the main road which was also itself impassable in several places. 4 fractions were without both power and running water.

In many ways, we have been lucky that we did not lose power or running water (though our water main runs through the slide and the power poles are all at odd angles) and our houses are intact.  We have been unlucky in the prioritization process of the local authorities for our road, and in the way our road is classified in local governance. With over 26 major slides to work on, the township has told us it would take months to get to our road, possibly even a year. Even then because of the status of our road they cannot guarantee they will ever be able to pay back what we need to fix it, even though we must get all the appropriate permits and approvals because it will be used for public access. It may be that actually another part of our road above us is so heavily damaged it cannot be repaired and reclassification of the roadways will be required.

Taking a breather with our neighbors working on the road while the excavator fills in the wood and steel structure.

So with that in mind, we’d like to share a little more of what we have now confirmed through expert opinion and permitting what the costs and design of our new road will be at market rates.  I’d be very happy to share and/or translate for those who are interested, but here is the basic and simplified breakdown of estimated costs:

  • 28,000€ at standard rate for preparation, earth moving and road bed preparation by an excavator of the size and type we currently are using on site, including fuel and operator. We are very lucky our neighbor is a professional operator and had just recently rented the excavator before the slide for work on his farm, so we will likely be able to reduce this cost considerably.
  • 7,000€ for drainage piping, material and batting to prevent further slides of the new road and surrounding hillside.
  • 70,000€ for a foundation structure of interlaced wood and steel, latticed under the road to prevent erosion and further slides. Once again, this is based on market rates but we have already been able to source local timber and rock from our neighbors with a sawmill and stoneworks.
  • 8,000€ of gravel and stabilizing material to construct the road on the road bed.
  • 2,000€ for road finishing materials to seal the road
  • 2,500€ to reroute the water main.
  • 3,000€ for safety signage, guardrails and speed bump to bring the road to safety code.

Which comes to about 120,000€, not including the estimate that it will take about the same amount again to cover all the admin costs, to clean up the other damage along the road and maintain this new road in the short term. An enormous task. As we say, it is very likely that on some areas, like using the excavator in the able hands of our neighbor or for sourcing wood from our neighbor on the road that runs a sawmill, we can significantly reduce certain costs, but we thought it was important to give you an idea of the official picture. Speaking of pictures, you can follow this link to see design blueprints of the road project your contributions are already helping make a reality!

I never imagined to be involved in such a large infrastructure project (perhaps you never imagined you would either!) and slowly but sure it is coming together! Thank you for helping us reconnect with our community! Please do share with your friends and contacts what we are doing here with your help!

Thank you!

Evan and Federica