Construction work for two Jaffrey roundabouts planned to start next summer

  • Two new roundabouts are set for construction in Jaffrey starting in 2023. Courtesy photo

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 10/13/2021 3:33:50 PM

Construction on two Jaffrey roundabouts is planned to start next summer, with a rough completion date of 2025.

In a meeting with the Select Board Monday, several representatives from the state met with board members to review the project, its timeline, and plans to keep the public informed as it moves forward.

Marty Kennedy, a consultant project manager for the roundabout project, told the board that plans first presented to the public in October of 2019 are still the main vision for what the downtown will look like. The five-way intersection in downtown, where Routes 202 and 119, Main Street, Stratton Road and Blake Street will be replaced with a single-lane roundabout. One leg of the roundabout will connect to a new bridge constructed over the Contoocook River, and connect to a second new roundabout on River Street.

This configuration allows Route 202 traffic to bypass the downtown.

Kennedy said Main Street traffic – one of the problem areas that prompted the construction of the roundabouts – will be “substantially lower than it is today” when the construction is complete.

“You’re going to have wider sidewalks, narrower pavement sections, and anyone coming into the town center will notice the difference,” Kennedy said.

Traffic will move more efficiently, but slower, Kennedy said.

Currently, the state is meeting with impacted property owners, including the town’s War Memorial Committee about impacts to the downtown park. The state has already reached a purchase agreement with owners of two properties, the former Lab ‘n’ Lager on Main Street and an apartment complex on River Street. Both buildings are expected to be demolished to make way for the connecting roundabouts.

The apartment complex still has three apartments occupied, and the state is working with the residents of the building to find alternate housing.

The demolition of those buildings is the first step planned in the construction project, and is planned for as early as the end of the summer in 2022.

However, the entire project is anticipated not to be completed for another three years beyond that.

Kennedy said the public will still have chances to weigh in on certain design elements, including the aesthetic design of the bridge over the Contoocook.

The state maintains an email list for the project, which is still active and informs interested members of the public on when new plans are submitted and notifies them of upcoming public meetings.

Kennedy said the state plans to hold a series of public hearings as the design is developed. Representatives also plan to hold “Main Street walkabouts,” where they drop in on downtown merchants during daytime hours to solicit their input.

In addition to formal public hearings, the state also committed to several, informal meetings with the Select Board, to provide updates and take feedback from both town officials and residents.

Residents of the town have also already taken steps to ensure the town is heard on certain design and aesthetic issues. A Jaffrey committee was formed and met for the first time last week to provide input to the state as the process moves forward. The committee does not have a regular schedule, and anticipates meeting next in December, and more regularly as the design process finalizes certain elements.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.




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