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Revised estimate for Route 28 rebuild an "eye opener"

August 01, 2019
WOLFEBORO — The Department of Transportation Commissioner and Executive Councilor Mike Cryans paid a visit to Wolfeboro to share some very disappointing news last week, according to Public Works Director Dave Ford.

Their announcement that the long anticipated rebuild of Route 28 from Pickering Corner through South Wolfeboro has a new revised $20 million price tag was an "eye opener," Ford told the Board of Selectmen on July 24.

In 2017, the estimate for improvements of five segments along the corridor was $12 million. Residents may remember attending public meetings to offer their input on five segments: the .90 mile stretch from the Wolfeboro/Alton town line to Middleton Road; the nearly mile-long stretch of road from the Middleton Road to Pleasant Valley Road (PVR); the section stretching for just over six tenths of a mile from PVR to Christian Ridge (CRR); the nearly half-mile piece from there to Pickering Corner; and Center Street, the final half mile from the corner to Route 109A.

The Center Street project, a municipally managed project (80 percent state/ 20 percent town) now complete, was first. Four remain. The state's ten year plan, including completion of the remainder by 2024, was estimated at around $10 million.

The town was informed that the recent increased estimate was the result of cuts in federal highway funding. So, what to do next?

Selectman Paul O'Brien likened the choice to that of spreading peanut butter thin enough to cover a whole slice of bread or spreading it to the desired thickness on a section of the slice. Do you do the best you can for a limited section or spread it out?

In Ford's view, a rebuild of South Main Street up to the Kingswood Complex is highly preferable to just repaving.

The base under the road is concrete and the height of the road is such that water runs off to the sides, creating deep puddles that pedestrians have difficulty navigating. In the winter, puddles freeze.

"They don't want to plan a project we can't fund," commented Ford, who wondered if Wolfeboro could pay for some of the amenities included in the project, suggesting that if the state knew the town was willing to commit some funding, it would be more likely to move forward.

The board agreed to notify Wolfeboro's three legislators, Senator Jeb Bradley and Representatives John MacDonald and Edie Desmarais and ask them to go to bat for the town. More discussions will certainly ensue.

Martin Lord Osman
Town of Brookfield
Town of Brookfield
Varney Smith
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