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Converse Road to get new bridge

Work expected to take 16 weeks

TEMPLE — Bridge work on Converse Road approved by the town in 2013 will be moving forward in the late summer and into the fall, after the Select Board awarded the construction contract to Cold River Bridges of Walpole during its meeting last week.

In 2013, the town approved a warrant article to raise $540,075 to complete the engineering and construction costs for the Converse Road bridge No. 1. The majority of the total cost — 80 percent, or $440,000 — is to be paid for by the N.H. State Bridge Aid Program through the N.H. Department of Transportation. The town raised $53,931 through taxation in 2013, and approved a further $46,144 to come from the town’s capital reserves to cover the other 20 percent of the cost. The town had already spent $9,925 toward the engineering study.

On Tuesday, the board met with Bob Durfee of Dubois and King, the firm that did the engineering work on the bridge and will be doing supervision of the construction phase. The town and the state have agreed upon a $407,800 budget for the construction phase of the project, which will include $52,200 for Dubois and King for on-site inspections and site management over the 16 weeks the bridge construction is anticipated to take.

The bridge will be replaced with a prefabricated bridge by Cold River Bridges, and the bridge will be unavailable for travel during that time. Since there is no alternate route, a temporary bridge will be put into place for the duration and removed once the prefabricated bridge is in place.

Select Board member John Kieley noted that the cost of the bridge had already risen beyond its initial proposed budget, and that the town will have to raise an additional $5,000, aside from what was already appropriated during 2013 Town Meeting. The town will absorb the additional cost through unexpended funds, he said.

Durfee questioned whether the town will have enough funds to cover any contingencies that may occur, such as hitting an unanticipated shelf during construction and needing to pay the additional cost to remove it. Any additional, unanticipated costs will also be 80 percent covered by the state, but the town also needs to be aware of the possibility, he said.

Kieley replied that the town will have to face that problem if it occurs. “If we tear out the old bridge, and find something unanticipated, we can’t just leave it as it is,” he said. “We’d have to find the funds.”

Currently, he added, the town has no intention of going back to voters for additional funds, but that may have to change if there are further unexpected expenses. “If that $5,000 becomes $50,000, we’ll have to have further conversation about that,” Kieley said.

Dubois and King will hold a pre-construction meeting with the town and Cold River Bridges on July 22 at 4 p.m. Following the pre-construction meeting, the board will continue with regular Select Board business at 5:30 p.m. in the Town Hall meeting room.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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