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Sodom Road and Tuftonboro Neck bridge repairs needed

May 18, 2017
TUFTONBORO — The Sodom Road Bridge over the Melvin River and the Tuftonboro Neck Bridge are in need of repair. The Sodom Road Bridge, last modified in 1970, is listed on the state's 2016 Municipal Bridge Red List of a total of 324 bridges requiring interim inspections. The Tuftonboro Neck Bridge, though not yet red-listed, is a priority though, according to Peter Holden, Vice-President of Holden Engineering.

Speaking to the selectmen at the May 8 meeting, Holden explained that his company keeps track of bridges in the state and contacts towns whose bridges are in need of work. His firm provides information on those particular bridges helpful for planning and in the hope of being selected eventually to do design work.

Road Agent Jim Bean sat next to him for the discussion first on the Sodom bridge. Holden said soil has washed out underneath, cable in the concrete abuttments is exposed and water is going into the deck panel. They could encase the concrete or take the deck off in order to work on the scour (holes created by sediment in swiftly moving water that compromise the bridge's integrity) and put the deck back on.

Holden estimated that the repair would take three to four weeks to complete. A one mile detour is available for traffic.

The Tuftonboro Neck bridge, which is getting close to red list status, said Bean, has no detour available. For that reason, said Holden, it should take priority, because if the bridge has to close, no detour is available. The fix would involve a temporary bypass bridge. Bean mentioned that the bridge would need an arch in order for boats to pass through.

Selectman Bill Marcussen, the selectmen's representative to the Capital Improvements Program committee, noted that the Sodom bridge project is three years out and the Tuftonboro Neck bridge is eight years out.

The state aid program for bridge reconstruction requires submission of a report on each bridge in question. Bean noted that those projects that are shovel ready with engineering in place have the best chance of approval. The state also re§§quires that the town have 20 percent of the cost set aside and five percent more each year.

The state will reimburse a town at the rate of 80 percent of all qualifying costs that are found in compliance with the process, which includes costs incurred for design, construction, and construction engineering.

Holden provided detailed information on all aspects of the project in booklets available for perusal at the town offices.

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