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Francestown

Temporary, one-lane bridge open for through traffic

Construction cost down below the expected $70K allotted

  • The temporary one-lane bridge is now open to traffic in Francestown on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike, where travel has not been permitted since the December bridge closing.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    The temporary one-lane bridge is now open to traffic in Francestown on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike, where travel has not been permitted since the December bridge closing.

    (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The temporary one-lane bridge is now open to traffic in Francestown on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike, where travel has not been permitted since the December bridge closing.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    The temporary one-lane bridge is now open to traffic in Francestown on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike, where travel has not been permitted since the December bridge closing.

    (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • A vehicle travels over the newly finished temporary bridge on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike in Francestown on  Monday morning. Construction on the one-lane bridge began May 28 and was completed June 13.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    A vehicle travels over the newly finished temporary bridge on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike in Francestown on Monday morning. Construction on the one-lane bridge began May 28 and was completed June 13.

    (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The temporary one-lane bridge is now open to traffic in Francestown on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike, where travel has not been permitted since the December bridge closing.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    The temporary one-lane bridge is now open to traffic in Francestown on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike, where travel has not been permitted since the December bridge closing.

    (Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence) Purchase photo reprints at Photo Finder »

  • The temporary one-lane bridge is now open to traffic in Francestown on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike, where travel has not been permitted since the December bridge closing.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • The temporary one-lane bridge is now open to traffic in Francestown on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike, where travel has not been permitted since the December bridge closing.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • A vehicle travels over the newly finished temporary bridge on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike in Francestown on  Monday morning. Construction on the one-lane bridge began May 28 and was completed June 13.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • The temporary one-lane bridge is now open to traffic in Francestown on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike, where travel has not been permitted since the December bridge closing.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

FRANCESTOWN — About six months after an initial bridge closure — and three months since voters agreed to a $70,000 increase in the town’s operating budget for the construction of a temporary bridge at Town Meeting — Francestown residents are finally able to navigate a one-lane, temporary bridge on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike over the South Branch Piscataquog River.

When the state Department of Transportation recommended closing the bridge on the 2nd N.H. Turnpike in December, town officials scrambled for options to be able to reopen one of the town’s main roads to travel. Once the $70,000 was added to the town’s budget for the purpose of constructing a temporary bridge, the town’s Select Board got to work putting together requests for bids and elected to use the town’s Highway Department for a majority of the construction.

Construction of the bridge began on May 28, and was completed June 13. Town Administrator Michael Branley issued a statement about the opening of the bridge the same day.

“The temporary bridge will open this major route that has been closed to traffic for approximately six months,” Branley wrote in the release. “Early estimates indicate that thanks to design modifications, as well as the blended approach of utilizing town labor and contracted services, the final cost of the project will come in below the $70,000 appropriated for the project at Town Meeting.”

Select Board Chair Betsy Hardwick said in a phone interview Monday that the exact cost of the project has yet to be determined, but confirmed it was less than the $70,000 allotted. “It’s very nice to have [the bridge] done,” Hardwick said.

The Turnpike is a major vein of traffic that allows non-residents to pass through on their way to Crotched Mountain Ski and Ride and other destinations. But the residents of Francestown who have dealt with the issue for six months have been the most directly affected.

Terry Risk of Francestown uses the Turnpike often to shop in Milford, but hasn’t navigated the new bridge yet. “I’m going to try it on Thursday,” he said in an interview in Francestown Monday. “I’m very happy it’s open.”

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