$1.6M for Lyndeborough’s Mountain Road repairs

LYNDEBOROUGH – Mountain Road, from Center Road to the end of the pavement, will be rebuilt this summer. Voters at Town Meeting last Saturday discussed it for about two hours, and then approved a bond issue for $1.6 million by almost 90 percent – 90 yes to 14 no. A two-thirds vote was required. The presentation began with Budget Committee Chairman Burton Reynolds explaining how it can be managed with little or no impact on the tax rate. Kevin Leonard, of Northpoint Engineering, then presented a slide show showing the condition of the four sections of the road that will be covered by the contract, what the current conditions are and how they will be dealt with. Former road agent Clayton Brown described how the road had been worked on in the late 1950s using state town road aid money. Little has been done to the road since. It was last paved in 1999.

"You wouldn’t believe the shape the road was in then," he said, "if you think it is bad now." Selectman Lee Mayhew called the current condition "abominable." Reynolds said the bond will be for 10 years and will be paid for using a combination of state block grant money, the town’s paving fund, unexpended fund balances and changes in the Capital Improvement Plan, which will move some projects into the future by a year or two, and moving several parts of the bid package into the operating budget. Many of the questions asked concerned Crooked S Road, which will be the main detour when Mountain Road is closed.

Crooked S is a narrow, twisting gravel road also in need of repair, and there were several complaints of speeding on the road now. The only other alternative is New Road. Leonard said Crooked S will not have to be used often because one lane will be kept open except when new culverts are being installed. The work will begin as soon as school closes and will be completed by the end of August when school reopens. Mountain Road is a bus route and the work has to be completed. Police Chief Rance Deware said the work will be coordinated with the Police Department. "Call me if there are complaints," he said. "There is a plan in place." Asked if the project could be done in phases, Leonard said it would cost more because of getting the equipment onto the site. Doing it all at once "gets the most bang for the buck."

Asked if there were performance bonds, Mayhew said there were, and Leonard said there were "assurances for the town." In addition, the last payment won’t be made until everyone is satisfied. "I’ll be there watching," road agent Kent Perry said. Asked why he couldn’t do the entire project, Perry said, "I can’t touch the reculverting, anything to do with water," because of state regulations. Northpoint has dealt with all of the easements for widening the road and the Department of Environmental Services permits for culverts and water diversion.

At the end, Leo Trudeau, who uses the road daily, delivered an impassioned plea: "The selectmen say there will be little or no impact on the tax rate, and it’s the right thing to do. The road is unsafe for school buses. We can’t put on a Band-Aid and make it better."