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Francestown

Town facing more bridge work

FRANCESTOWN — After months of discussion about the temporary bridge for the 2nd N.H. Turnpike and its construction, bridges continue to be a concern following a letter from the N.H. Department of Transportation which stated the Juniper Hill Road bridge is in need of replacement or extensive rehabilitation.

The DOT’s Municipal Highways Engineer for the Bureau of Planning and Community Assistance Nancy Mayville sent a letter to the town on Dec. 16. In an interview Monday, Mayville said that because the Juniper Hill bridge over Brennan Brook is now included on the department’s municipal Red List of deficient bridge structures, the state department will inspect the bridge every year, instead of every other year, until it is repaired or replaced.

The structural deficiency with the bridge does not require immediate closure, Mayville said. This bridge is on the department’s list of bridge projects to work on in 2016. At that time, the state would reimburse Francestown for 80 percent of the cost to repair or replace this bridge, Mayville said. The bridge may not need to be closed before 2016, but Mayville said she couldn’t say for certain if this is the case.

The corrugated steel culvert of the bridge has widespread areas of heavy corrosion and pitting with scattered areas of rust, according to the Mayville’s letter. When corrugated steel culverts begin to experience corrosion Mayville said they can deteriorate more quickly than other parts of a bridge.

“This is telling them that they need to pay attention to it,” Mayville said, referring to the letter’s purpose.

The letter also recommended that the bridge continue to be posted “E-2” for the short-term. Mayville said this means the bridge can only carry legal limits for transportation vehicles. Some truck drivers can pay the state more for a special permit to carry over the legal limit, which varies depending on the type of truck, Mayville said. The bridge is safe enough to carry all legal loads, Mayville said. However, a weight limits change may be required in the future.

Planning Board Chair Linda Kunhardt said in a recent interview that Town Road Agent Gary Paige told the Planning Board and the public gathered at the Dec. 4 meeting that there are three bridges in town that are of concern. Paige said bridge inspectors had recently reviewed these bridges and that he would not know the severity of the issues until the Department of Transportation sends the town an official letter of recommendations.

But Mayville’s letter did not mention any bridge concerns besides the Juniper Hill Bridge.

Paige did not return multiple messages seeking comment by press time.

Lindsey Arceci can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 232, or larceci@ledgertranscript.com.

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