The Route 16 project is almost complete. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
January 15, 2018BERLIN – Jay Poulin of HEB Engineers, who designed and is overseeing the Route 16 project, updated the City Council on the progress on Monday, Jan. 8. He told the Council that the majority of the work is complete.
New drainage piping was installed deep in the ground and the road on Upper Main Street has been rebuilt and paved. There are bump outs, pavement markings, decorative crosswalks, installed LED lighting, there was significant landscaping with planted trees. On the west side of the street, there are concrete sidewalks with brick pavers and granite curbing. Part of the project was to beautify Main Street along the river to attract people to get out of their vehicles and walk along the street. Part of the project was a beginning phase of the Riverwalk that is expected to be complete within two years. The Riverwalk will be an multi-purpose trail along the river from the Heritage Park to the 12th Street bridge.
Mayor Paul Grenier said that "the project substantially changes the view of the city."
From the 12th Street bridge to the base of Cates Hill Road, the road was overlaid with pavement getting rid of potholes.
Poulin outlined a bucket list of things that still need to be done. He described the project as "very challenging" but added that he is "very proud of the outcome."
Puddles on Eighth Street still need to be addressed.
Sealers will be applied to the sidewalks.
Some of the planted trees, that are specifically tolerant of salt, are expected to die and be replaced.
At the start of the project, many citizens complained about some of the bump outs and they ended up being cut back. Poulin said that he believes people have adapted to them.
Poulin reported that the project, that covers 2.8 miles, is estimated to cost almost $7 million. The bulk of the project is being paid by the City that bonded $55 million. Payments will be made in lieu of taxes accumulated from the Jericho Power wind farm and from the Burgess BioPower biomass plant.
Poulin expects a $150,000 surplus. Additionally, damage from the storm that occurred from Oct. 30 to Nov. 1 is expected to take up that surplus.
HEB and the City negotiated with Sargent Construction (the general contractor of the Route 16 project) to provide repair work to the the damage caused by the storm. Sargent subbed out AB Construction and that company repaired damage throughout the City while HEB concentrated on the Route 16 Project. $400,000 has been spent on storm damage and about $90,000 worth of repairs remain.
Fortunately, President Trump's administration has agreed to declare Coös County as a federal disaster as per request of Gov. Chris Sununu. Berlin will be reimbursed up to 70 percent of the $490,000 from FEMA. Poulin predicts that the City will be responsible for about $150,000.