Peterborough Main Street Bridge closing to downtown traffic starting this week

  • Diagrams of the partial closure and detour map of the Peterborough Main Street Bridge project set to start in March 2020.

  • Diagrams of the partial closure and detour map of the Peterborough Main Street Bridge project set to start in March 2020.

  • Peterborough voters approved extra funds for the Main Street Bridge project at a special town meeting Wednesday night. Staff photo by MEGHAN PIERCE—

  • Peterborough voters approved extra funds for the Main Street Bridge project at a special town meeting Wednesday night. Staff photo by MEGHAN PIERCE—

  • Peterborough voters approved extra funds for the Main Street Bridge project at a special town meeting Wednesday night. Staff photo by MEGHAN PIERCE—

  • Peterborough voters approved extra funds for the Main Street Bridge project at a special town meeting Wednesday night. Staff photo by MEGHAN PIERCE—

  • Peterborough voters approved extra funds for the Main Street Bridge project at a special town meeting Wednesday night. Staff photo by MEGHAN PIERCE—

  • Peterborough voters approved extra funds for the Main Street Bridge project at a special town meeting Wednesday night. Staff photo by MEGHAN PIERCE—

  • Peterborough voters approved extra funds for the Main Street Bridge project at a special town meeting Wednesday night. Staff photo by MEGHAN PIERCE—

  • Peterborough voters approved extra funds for the Main Street Bridge project at a special town meeting Wednesday night. Staff photo by MEGHAN PIERCE—

  • Peterborough voters approved extra funds for the Main Street Bridge project at a special town meeting Wednesday night. Staff photo by MEGHAN PIERCE—

  • Peterborough voters approved extra funds for the Main Street Bridge project Wednesday night, Jan. 15, 2020. Courtesy Photo—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 1/21/2020 5:01:44 PM

Peterborough voters approved extra funds for the Main Street Bridge project at a special town meeting Wednesday night.

Following the voters’ approval that allows the town to start the $8 million project, the town announced that traffic on the bridge will be brought down to one lane, starting this week – Wednesday, Jan. 22. Full closure of the bridge is planned to start in March.

In a press release the town said it had requested engineers from Hoyle Tanner Associates, Inc. to conduct a site visit to observe the condition of the Main Street Bridge earlier this month. During that site visit the engineers found evidence of deterioration of the concrete and rebar structure on the underside of the bridge.

“This deterioration was judged to be significant enough to require the partial closure of the Main Street Bridge and a reduction of the maximum weight of vehicles allowed on the bridge to three tons,” the press release said. 

So beginning on Wednesday the two lanes of traffic on the bridge will be closed. These lanes will be the westbound lane, the one closest to the Peterborough Town Library, and the northbound turning lane, the center lane of the bridge. 

A single lane of westbound traffic driving into the downtown from Route 202 is to remain open on the side of the bridge closest to the Transcript dam.

The sidewalks will remain open on both sides of the bridge.

No traffic driving eastward from Main Street will be allowed on the bridge. 

The new traffic pattern will be enforced by barriers. And signs and electronic sign boards are to be used to direct drivers in the new pattern over the bridge and detour. 

Additionally, the maximum weight of vehicles allowed on the bridge will be reduced to 3 tons or 6,000 pounds. Some SUVs and larger passenger vans will exceed this limit.

On Sunday, the Select Board issued a statement to assure residents and downtown merchants that town officials would do whatever possible to make sure the bridge closure doesn’t disrupt the town. 

“The Select Board and Town staff plan to do everything possible to support our downtown businesses during this project. We want all of our beloved shops, restaurants and businesses to be there when the bridge reopens. Many shop owners have expressed concern that this project will put them out of business. We can’t let that happen. If we all continue to shop, bank, dine, and be entertained as usual, then it won’t. Let us all come together to help bridge the challenges ahead,” the board’s statement said.

Wednesday night, Special Town Meeting voters were asked to increase spending on the Main Street Bridge reconstruction project by $1.4 million, from $6.6 million to $8 million. Out of the $8 million total project costs, the town is responsible for $1.6 million. Federal highway funds are covering 80 percent of the project costs.

Before the vote, residents peppered Town Administrator Rodney Bartlett with questions.

“The library is working very hard to finalize their financing package,” Bartlett said, when a Gwyn Baldwin asked him about the $8 million library renovation and expansion project.

“I believe they are looking at a May 1 potential start,” He said, adding, “And we have always planned for the bridge and the library to be in construction together so we’re all set with video cameras for surveying the buildings around there and making sure that each contractor is aware of what the other is doing.”

Kath Allen asked Bartlett if Hunt Road would be a part of the road detours, to which he responded no. 

“Hunt Road will not be designated as a detour,” Bartlett said. “Hunt Road most recently by the board of selectmen, the speed limit was reduced to 25 miles an hour and we instituted ‘no through trucking’ on Hunt Road. Do I anticipate that there will be an increase in passenger vehicles and usage of Hunt Road, yes. But truck traffic should not have any increase, in fact there should be none.”

The single bond article eventually went to a vote. After the ballot box was closed, Town Moderator L. Phillips Runyon announced that 177 ballots were cast, “175 yes, two no.”

The bridge replacement contract with Beck and Bellucci will go into effect in February. Full closure of the bridge is expected to begin near the end of March 2020.

The two-year project is expected to start this spring and conclude by the end of 2021.


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