2017-06-17 / Front Page

DOT holding hearing on Route 12 project

WALPOLE — A three-mile roadway improvement project 10 years in the making will be discussed later this month at a public information meeting at the North Walpole School.


The New Hampshire Department of Transportation has announced a meeting set for Wednesday, June 28 at 7 p.m. to be held at the school to discuss the planned reconstruction of three miles of Route 12 between Charlestown and Walpole. North Walpole School is located at 17 Cray Road.


The proposed project will reconstruct the section of Route 12 stretching from Main Street in North Walpole to the intersection of Route 12A in Charlestown, and will widen the roadway and feature paved shoulders for additional safety for commercial vehicles and pedestrians.


Proposed work includes full box reconstruction, riverbank slope stabilization, construction of stormwater treatment and drainage upgrades, as well as guardrail replacement. The existing roadway is between 22 and 24 feet wide, and doesn’t have paved shoulders. Slope stability issues due to erosion were also a factor in the project.


The road, which has a 50 mph speed limit, saw an average daily traffic total of 6,320 vehicles in 2013, and has an accident history associated with a lack of shoulders, a need for updated guardrails in some areas and an appropriate safety zone between the roadway, the river and the railroad, according to the NHDOT presentation from a June 2016 public information session.


While the original proposal featured would have shifted Route 12 and the parallel running railroad east in sections — away from the riverbank — that proposal was revised in early 2016 due to “a significant increase in rock excavation costs associated with blasting adjacent to an active railroad,” according to a conference report from the June 2016 public hearing, the least hearing to be held on the project.


Shifting the roads east would have increased the estimated project cost to $33 million — well above the $16.9 million set aside for the project. Difficulties coordinating the project with New England Central Railroad were also cited as an issue.


The updated project would move the road west, away from the railroad, and feature armored slopes into the river with surface vegetation. Once finished, the route would feature 11-foot lanes with 5-foot paved shoulders.


According to minutes from the June 2016 hearing, the capacity of the finished roadway will be between 10,000 and 12,000 vehicles per day, with projected traffic numbers in 2033 set at approximately 8,500 per day. NHDOT anticipated at the time of the public hearing that the project would be advertised in late 2017, with completion anticipated by fall of 2019.


The Federal Highway Administration is picking up 80 percent of the cost for the project, with the remaining 20 percent to be paid through the New Hampshire Highway Fund, which is primarily funded by the state’s gas tax. The project will have no direct cost to local taxpayers.


Any changes made to the design since the June 2016 public hearing could not be obtained from DOT officials Friday.

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let's include fixing Vilas

let's include fixing Vilas Bridge with that.