EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 3, 2012

Selectmen unhappy with DPW chief

SALEM, N.H. — Public works director Richard Russell has come under fire from selectmen, who accused him of not informing them about necessary roadwork.

Selectmen lashed out at Russell during their meeting Thursday after they were asked to approve $90,000 to repair two roads in town.

“Why are we seeing this now?” board vice chairman James Keller said.

He questioned why the two streets — Duston Road and Field Avenue — were not included in the town’s $4.6 million roadwork plan for this year.

“I have a real problem with that. ... I’m just confused and darn frustrated,” Keller said. “I’m sick and tired of sitting here and dealing with stuff after the fact.”

Selectmen were asked to approve $60,000 for Duston Road and $30,000 for Field Avenue. The money would be withdrawn from a capital reserve account for roadwork.

Russell told selectmen he wasn’t sure Duston Road would last the winter without being repaired and that Field Avenue should be paved because other roads in the area are being done at the same time.

“I believe it makes more sense to do it while we’re in there,” Russell said. “I recommend that we get it done.”

Russell said delaying the work until next year or later would cause project costs to multiply. The reconstruction of Duston Road was not scheduled until 2018. The work on the road still needs to be done even if $60,000 is spent now as a temporary fix.

“It’s riddled with potholes,” Russell said, adding it won’t be safe to drive down. “It should be done.”

The paving of streets near Field Avenue begins next week, Russell said, prompting Selectman Stephen Campbell to question why the work was being done so late in the year.

“I’m really concerned about paving this late,” Campbell said. “I just can’t support it this year.”

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