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January 10, 2014

Hampstead delays school access road

Road won't be decided at Town Meeting

HAMPSTEAD — A proposal to create an emergency access road to Hampstead Middle School has been put on hold. School Board Chairman Natalie Gallo said the item would not be on the warrant at Town Meeting this year, due to a lack of information.

“We just felt more studies need to be done on it,” Gallo said. “We are going to put it on the back burner until further study is done.”

The access road was being discussed because of emergency response concerns. There is only one way in and out of the school, Sonchool Street. The proposal would have added another access road off Emerson Street.

The School Board held a two-hour public hearing to hear residents’ views on the proposed road in September. Ultimately, they have decided not to go forward for now.

Gallo said a major concern was the possibility of contaminating abutters’ wells with the road.

“Many of us on the board decided it would be of paramount importance not to mitigate the problem,” Gallo said. “We needed more study of an engineering plan, to figure out whether that was the most viable.”

Conservation Commission Chairman Tim Lovell said the commission did not agree with the road as proposed.

“There is an excess of runoff in water in the area,” Lovell said. “If they were to pave this road and make it a two-lane road, the area would not be able to absorb it.”

The road would be a quarter-mile long and would be either a paved double lane road or a gravel road. The project was estimated to cost $100,000 if it were a gravel road and $267,122 for a paved road.

“The stone road would have been fine, but the schools wanted the two-lane road,” Lovell said. “We were in disagreement with that.”

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