EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

August 20, 2013

Road work on schedule in Southern N.H.

Towns push to get road projects completed

By Alex Lippa

---- — As the summer winds down, town officials aren’t expecting many speed bumps when it comes to road construction.

Most towns are finalizing plans for the last couple months of work before the cold weather finally sets in.

“It’s been steady progress,” Salem Selectmen’s Chairman Everett McBride Jr. said. “We’re pleased with what has been going on.”

Salem has had the most extensive road work in the region, with $4.6 million spent on road repairs and another $1.1 million being spent to repair bridges on Bluff Road and Providence Hill Road.

While the Providence Hill Road bridge remains on schedule, construction on the Bluff Road bridge is slightly delayed.

“The problem had something to do with the contractor, but it is only a couple weeks behind,” McBride said.

Also seeing some delays in construction is Windham. They don’t have the major projects that Salem has, but they are also a couple weeks behind when it comes to regular paving.

“The road agent has been busy with some other things in town,” Town Administrator David Sullivan said.

Sullivan said the town has been focused on drainage improvement at the recreation fields and on the rail trail this summer, but that was delayed due to weather. On Aug. 7, the town announced it would be seeking proposals for paving of 10 roads.

“Ideally, we would have put them out earlier,” Sullivan said. “But they are smaller roads and they aren’t complete reconstruction.”

Sullivan said Windham budgets around $300,000 for road construction.

But elsewhere, the majority of paving has already been done.

“We rebuilt some of Summit Drive and repaved Saw Mill Drive,” Atkinson road agent Ted Stewart said. “Those are all completed. We’re fortunate that they started early and stayed on budget.”

Stewart said Atkinson has a $350,000 budget for road repairs.

In Derry, they are in the middle of their annual summer roadway paving program.

“It’s been a productive season,” said Mike Fowler, Derry’s director of public works. “We don’t have a major road that we need to pave this year.”

On Sept. 3, work will begin to construct a new bridge and install sewage on Rockingham Road. The project is expected to be completed in December.

But there is still the wish that there was room to do more.

“There’s always more to be done,” Stewart said. “Some roads we could only do partially; in an ideal world, that wouldn’t have happened.”

In Pelham, Selectman’s Chairman Ed Gleason said officials couldn’t budget as much work as they would have liked.

“We were handed the default budget, so we are pretty much limited in what we can do.” Gleason said.

He said the big project going on in town is the twin roundabouts on Route 111A, which is a federally funded state project. He expects them to be completed in September.

But timelines are always subject to change, depending on the weather. Salem town engineer Robert Puff said the wet weather this summer has made some of his projects challenging.

“Anytime you have excessive amounts of rain, it causes things to go slower,” Puff said. “We have good contractors working and we’re doing the best to cope and adapt with all situations.”