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FRANCESTOWN

Temporary bridge to be built in-house

  • Road agent Gary Paige, right, reviews notes and plans for a temporary bridge while, from left to right, Select Board members Abigail Arnold, Scott Carbee and Betsy Hardwick listen to and review the proposal.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    Road agent Gary Paige, right, reviews notes and plans for a temporary bridge while, from left to right, Select Board members Abigail Arnold, Scott Carbee and Betsy Hardwick listen to and review the proposal.

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

  • Francestown engineer Henry Kunhardt displays plans reviewed by CLD Engineers for a temporary bridge to the town Select Board on Thursday night at the Francestown town offices building.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    Francestown engineer Henry Kunhardt displays plans reviewed by CLD Engineers for a temporary bridge to the town Select Board on Thursday night at the Francestown town offices building.

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

  • About 30 Francestown residents attended Thursday night's Select Board meeting with road agent Gary Paige that focused on the impending steps toward bridge completion.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

    About 30 Francestown residents attended Thursday night's Select Board meeting with road agent Gary Paige that focused on the impending steps toward bridge completion.

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

  • Road agent Gary Paige, right, reviews notes and plans for a temporary bridge while, from left to right, Select Board members Abigail Arnold, Scott Carbee and Betsy Hardwick listen to and review the proposal.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • Francestown engineer Henry Kunhardt displays plans reviewed by CLD Engineers for a temporary bridge to the town Select Board on Thursday night at the Francestown town offices building.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)
  • About 30 Francestown residents attended Thursday night's Select Board meeting with road agent Gary Paige that focused on the impending steps toward bridge completion.<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Brandon Lawrence)

FRANCESTOWN — The Select Board voted unanimously to go with in-house construction of the temporary bridge for the 2nd N.H. Turnpike for a cost of at least $55,000, rather than put the project out to bid.

Weeks after the proposal for a temporary bridge was approved at Town Meeting, the Francestown Select Board agreed to go with the recommendation of the town’s engineering consultant, CLD Engineers of Manchester, and the town’s road agent for the town’s Highway Department to do the work of constructing the temporary bridge as designed by CLD. The cheapest way go about the project, town officials decided, was to have the work done in-house.

The Select Board met with Francestown Highway Department Road Agent Gary Paige and resident Henry Kunhardt, a engineer who volunteered his time for the temporary bridge project, Thursday night to review changes CLD made to the bridge design plans. Paige and Kunhardt said that having the Highway Department do the work would save the town money.

At Town Meeting, voters approved an amendment to the operating budget put forward by Kris Stewart — a Francestown resident and president of Francestown Sand and Gravel — to add $70,000 for the remporary bridge he had expected his company would build for the town.

The Select Board agreed to the recommendation for the work to be done in-house. Previously the Select Board had been at odds about whether or not the project should be put out to bid in accordance with town policy for project projects of $5,000.

Altogether, the estimated bottom price of the bridge will be $50,000 to $55,000, Paige said on Thursday. The town has spent $5,000 in engineering costs so far.

Paige said the Highway Department already has most of the equipment necessary to complete construction of the temporary bridge, as well as the manpower to do it. The town will solicit bids for equipment rental the department does not already have, and for work they may not be able to do. The town will need to purchase materials necessary to complete the construction of the temporary bridge. Some materials, Paige said, the state has agreed to lend the town at no cost, like the 62-foot long steel bridge beams. The bridge beams will be returned to the state when the temporary bridge is taken apart for construction of the permanent bridge replacement, which is set to begin in the summer of 2014. The town is also in the position to obtain discounted jersey barriers.

“We’re figuring we can get something going in a couple of weeks,” Paige said about construction.

He said the middle of May is a rough estimate for completion of the temporary bridge, which will reopen the 2nd N.H. Turnpike that has been closed since December 2012 with traffic being detoured to Red House Road.

Town Administrator Michael Branley said in a phone interview Monday that the design plans presented to the Select Board on Thursday, which were specified “not for construction” by CLD, were sent back to the engineering firm Friday to be finalized and stamped for construction approval. From there, the state Department of Transportation must take a look at and stamp the design plans for construction of the temporary bridge.

“If we can use existing labor and equipment, it’s easier and cleaner for [the Highway Department] to do it,” Branley said. “We’re hoping they get back quickly, but that’s up to CLD,” Branley said, referring to the finalized construction plans.

Stewart’s proposal had called for the temporary bridge to be removed, transported and stored future use. But the current plan for the bridge calls for it to be disbanded once construction begins on the permanent bridge, as CLD, Paige and Kunhardt have determined that the temporary bridge will not be mobile.

“We’re hoping some parts of the bridge will be salvageable,” Kunhardt said on Thursday.

Stewart could not be reached for comment on the revised plans for the temporary bridge by press time Monday.

The bridge will likely detract from other projects the Highway Department is working on, but it will not table any existing jobs, Branley said.

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