Peterborough Select Board meeting Tuesday will include discussion of replacing bridge at Route 202/136 intersection

The pier in the center of the bridge at Routes 202 and 136 in Peterborough is in danger of scouring from the Contoocook River. A replacement bridge would be a single-span bridge, with no pier.

The pier in the center of the bridge at Routes 202 and 136 in Peterborough is in danger of scouring from the Contoocook River. A replacement bridge would be a single-span bridge, with no pier. —COURTESY PHOTO

The bridge at the intersection of Route 202 and Route 136 in Peterborough needs to be replaced.

The bridge at the intersection of Route 202 and Route 136 in Peterborough needs to be replaced. COURTESY PHOTO

By BILL FONDA

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 10-02-2023 9:45 AM

The bridge over the Contoocook River on Route 202 at the intersection of Route 136 in the northern part of Peterborough needs to be replaced, according to Timothy Dunn, project manager for the New Hampshire Department of Transportation.

The state-owned bridge has been on the red list – meaning it is inspected twice a year because of its poor condition – since 2012, and Dunn said the poor condition of the bridge’s substructure means it needs to be replaced.

Furthermore, the pier that holds up the middle of the bridge – which was built in 1942 and widened in 1974 – is in danger of being undermined by scouring from the river despite a project to address it in 2019.

“There just isn’t a great way to rehabilitate it,” Dunn said.

On Tuesday, NHDOT officials will attend the Peterborough Select Board meeting to discuss possible options for the project, the pros and cons of each and get feedback from the board and the public.

Dunn said there are two possible options. One is to widen the bridge while replacing it in stages. The other is to build a temporary bridge downstream before removing the existing bridge all at once and building a new one. The temporary bridge would be removed once the new one was complete.

According to Dunn, the North Village Dam upstream and a sewer line for the town downstream complicate the project, but a temporary bridge would also require a temporary road that would intrude on a boat launch to the river for canoes and kayaks.

In that case, the state would connect the temporary road to the parking area for the boat launch.

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“Access would be essentially the same during construction as it is right now,” Dunn said.

A project involving a temporary bridge would be more expensive, Dunn said, but would take two years, as compared to up to three years for widening and rebuilding. The new bridge would be a single-span bridge, meaning it would not have a pier in the middle.

Dunn said there would be more public meetings to discuss the project before the state chooses which path to take, probably by 2025. The project is currently No. 17 on the state’s ranking list, and work is scheduled to begin in 2027.

Additional details are available at dot.nh.gov/projects-plans-and-programs/project-center/peterborough-27712.