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Union residents advised to start a petition to fix bridge


by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News
June 05, 2014
WAKEFIELD — Following up on the discussion of the Maple Street bridge in Union at the May 14 meeting of the Wakefield Board of Selectmen, Annette Perry came to the May 28 meeting looking for both information and help with getting the bridge repaired.

At the May 14 meeting Selectman Chair Ken Paul told Union resident Rose Gray that the state had ordered the bridge closed due to problems with its abutments which made it unsafe for traffic and informed the town that the bridge needed to be replaced at an estimated cost of $880,000. Because there is another bridge available nearby and other bridges that do not have alternative routes are higher priority.

Perry asked the board if a committee is needed to raise funds to hire an engineer to inspect the bridge and come up with a better estimate. She said she talked with an engineer who said it would cost $1,000 for an evaluation.

Paul responded that his advice was to form a committee to gather support for rebuilding the bridge, not hire an engineer. If would cost $50-75,000 for a full engineering study and voters would still have to approve funds to get the work done. Better to focus on building support and gathering signatures to put the repair on the ballot next March.

Perry asked how many signatures were needed for a ballot petition. Williams responded that at least 25 are required and the best time to submit one was in January. She offered to help Perry draft the article.

Perry also asked if a non-functioning fire hydrant in Union is being looked at. Williams said she talked with Fire Chief Todd Nason who said he is aware of the problem but doesn't know what he can do. Paul added that the intake pipe needs to be extended, but noted that the recent fire was put out without it. Williams commented that the new fire truck now on order includes a much larger tank.

Opening bids

Selectmen reviewed four bids for work at the ball fields and opened two bids for paving.

The Parks and Recreation Committee had met the night before and recommended BH Hydroseeding of Ashland, which had the second lowest bid at $38,438. Bids ranged from $36,500 for a Colebrook vendor to $75,000. Selectman Charlie Edwards was absent but both Paul and Selectman Connie Towmbley accepted the committee recommendation.

The paving bids proved to be a problem. The F.R. Carroll bid was clear enough but the Brox Industries bid did not specify total tonnage, so a comparison and estimate of total cost was not possible.

Road Agent Fred Clough was present and agreed clarification by Brox was needed before a decision could be made. Since the next board meeting was not until June 11, it was agreed that if Clough to get the needed information sooner a special meeting to decide the bids could be held.

Twombley said she was particularly concerned to get Rines Road repaved as soon as possible. Clough said Rines Road was his first priority.

Other business

The board approved a police application for a $5,000 Highway Safety grant. There were objections to that decision. Please see separate article in this edition.

Resident Jim Miller presented Paul with a gavel, so he could use it to keep order if things got rough at meetings.

During liaison reports Twombley reported that things have slowed down with the Heritage Commission, but it is ready to move artifacts into the renovated Grange Hall.

At Twombley's suggestion, a Letter of Appreciation was approved for former Selectman Paul Morrill, who recently retired for the postal service, for his many contributions to the community.

During her Town Administrator Update Williams reported that former Selectman Mark Duffy complained that he did not move the Wakefield-Middleton boundary marker as John Fournier claimed at the last meeting: it was agreed by all selectmen present from both towns to move it.

Williams clarified that wages paid to ClearView Community TV personnel came out of the franchise fee fund, so no special fund arrangements were needed.

Twombley announced that she had become a proud great grandmother the previous Sunday, earning the congratulations of all present. Also noted was the fact that Poor People's Pub won Best Lobster Roll honors in a WMUR contest and that their prime rib also landed high on the list of finalists.

It was noted that Selectman Edwards was absent because his mother-in-law had passed away and he was involved in funeral arrangements.

The next scheduled meeting of the Wakefield Board of Selectmen will be on Wednesday, June 11, at 7 p.m. at the Town Hall meeting room.

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