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Highway improvements underway throughout Ossipee

February 20, 2019
OSSIPEE — Travelers through Ossipee will find it abuzz with highway improvements over the next two years. The latest project, in the beginning phase, attempts to address an intersection that has long frustrated drivers trying to merge into traffic.

State transportation officials attended the Feb. 4 selectmen's meeting to explain their plan for the Route 41 and Route 16 intersection in West Ossipee. Some expressed doubt, however, that the "fix" will really make a difference. Though the plan is to install conduit for the possibility of future installment of four-way traffic lights, there are no plans now to install them. Traffic counts, according to traffic officials, just don't warrant a four-way signal at this time. Mainly on Sunday summer afternoons and holidays traffic often backs up along Route 41 from Route 16 beyond Ossipee Lake Road. DOT is proposing installing a center turn lane from Route 41 to Route 25 West and widening both intersections. There was also discussion about improving pedestrian safety in the area. The project is set to go out to bid this fall with construction in 2020.

In progress is the project that replaces three bridges along Route 16 the Lovell River Bridge and what locals know as the "twin bridges" that cross Bearcamp River. Extensive tree clearing has already been done. The contractor, Reed and Reed of Maine has set up their construction trailers on a site across from Ossipee Lake Country Store. That company is advertising to recruit workers. The project is expected to be complete in 2021.

The third project, Route 16 improvements from the Route 28 intersection north just beyond Green Mountain Furniture. There are major upgrades planned to start later this year and be complete in 2021. The traffic signals will be upgraded and the grade of the turn onto Route 28 will be changed to cancel turn signals. There is concrete under the current pavement that needs to be removed, requiring digging down about four feet, pulling the concrete out, replacing with new material and repaving. The road narrows for much of the Route 16 section so will be upgraded to include 11-foot travel lanes and five-foot shoulders. The turn lane will be extended, and intersection improvements will be made at Isaac Buswell Road and Island Path.

The project that has captured the most attention is the roundabout installation at the Route 28 and Route 171 intersection. That project remains on schedule for completion this year. County water lines that cross through the area will have to be relocated and the county delegation has indicated their intent to approve $25,000 in the County budget that gets finalized next month. Easements with property owners have been worked out. County commissioners agreed to waive any water system charges to the Town if the Town wishes to maintain landscaping in the center of the roundabout. And starting Feb. 11 DOT workers were steadily cutting trees in the project area.

Information about all projects can be found on the DOT Web site at www.nh.gov/dot/ projects/specifics.htm.

Martin Lord Osman
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