EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

New Hampshire

November 26, 2012

Roundabout work requires replanting memorial trees

PELHAM — Town officials are trying to save about a half-dozen memorial trees endangered by the Route 111A roundabout project.

Selectmen’s Chairman William McDevitt expects the board to sign off on the plan as soon as tonight.

The Conservation Commission has agreed to commit about $5,000 for the job.

The trees would be relocated from in front of Town Hall along Marsh Road and replanted near the library, McDevitt said.

Two crabapple trees memorialize a longtime Pelham teacher, Ruth Richardson, he said. Oak and ash trees also would be spared.

“The major reason for them being saved is a number were planted in dedication to the memory of individuals,” McDevitt said. “The selectmen have been supportive of this all along.”

Utility preparation work already is taking place for the new roundabouts.

Gov. John Lynch and the Executive Council recently awarded a $2.8 million contract for the roundabouts to Londonderry-based Continental Paving.

State transportation officials see the roundabouts improving the flow of traffic through the town center, as well as improving traveler safety. There are frequent backups now during rush hour.

Most of the work is expected to take place next year, with completion set for 2014.

Planning Director Jeff Gowan, in a recent status report, told selectmen utility and drainage work now underway is expected to take four to five months.

Gowan said more visible work on the roundabouts development is expected as soon as March.

Selectman Ed Gleason recommended state transportation officials come to town to provide updates and Gowan said they are amenable to doing so.

Selectmen have asked Gowan to see that school officials are kept informed because of the potential impact on school busing.

The Pelham Gardeners Group has offered to help the state design landscaping within the roundabouts.

The group has raised the idea of placing in the roundabouts a piece of New Hampshire granite, possibly quarried in town, symbolic of the community’s granite heritage.

The twin roundabouts will be constructed at the same time and will have no impact on the Town Common triangle. Land and sidewalks will be added outside the old granite and iron fencing.

Town officials are coordinating with state officials so the work won’t disrupt Old Home Day next year.

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