River District Commission Chairman John Hennessey (at screen) briefs his colleagues on the upcoming overhaul of Saranac and Ammonoosuc Streets. (Photo by Justin Roshak) (click for larger version)
April 25, 2018LITTLETON—The $2 million overhaul of Saranac and Ammonoosuc streets will begin within a month, and last all summer, according to project leaders and town hall.
The project will rebuild about 1,000 feet of road, and will touch all aspects of the streets, from the guts of the sewer and storm drains, to the road surface, sidewalk, and parking. The project will stretch from the Tannery Marketplace past the Saranac/Ammonoosuc intersection.
River District Commission Chair John Hennessey said that the project has taken years to weave together different sources of state and federal funding.
"The goal was to do it with as little taxpayer impact as possible," he explained last week at an informational meeting.
As a result, Littleton taxpayers will bear only about 25 percent of the total project cost. The rest will be paid for out of state and federal grants which, though they come with strings and delays attached, are now ready for action.
It has not been a short road: in 2016, the town obtained $1 million on their second attempt, and has worked since then to adhere to the grant's many requirements. The final piece of funding was only acquired last month, and the federal government signed off on action shortly after. With money and approval in hand, and construction season here, it is time to build.
Senior Civil Engineer Colin Dinsmore, of HEB Engineers, expects construction to begin by the end of May, with substantial completion by November.
During that full summer of work, "there will be a fair amount of disturbance on the two streets," he acknowledged.
"You have to break a few eggs to make a cake," Dinsmore said, "There will be one summer of some inconvenience, and then we'll have new infrastructure, new roads, new utilities, new sidewalks."
Any closures will be expedited and temporary, he said. Any utility disconnections or road closures will be communicated to the public, and to abutters. He described the art of major construction on commercial-residential stretch as a balancing act.
"One of the best ways to achieve that balance is communication," Dinsmore said.
The section behind the Bank of New Hampshire/Town Offices will be a particular focus. The street will be "reconfigured" to be safer and more convenient.
At present, "it's a horrible nightmare of an intersection," Dinsmore observed at last week's meeting.
Citizens agreed. "It's the worst," one chimed in.
The project will overhaul the area's storm water collection system. The current drains, circa 1950, includes a number of rainwater catch-basins which overflow into the sewer during high water, resulting in unnecessary strain to the wastewater treatment facility.
Two storm-water treatment sites will be installed, which will lightly clean rainwater and then discharge it into the Ammonoosuc separate from the sewer.
The town will obtain a few new parking spots along Saranac, which may slightly alleviate the downtown parking crunch. There will be no net change in parking spots at Bank of New Hampshire, which has agreed to open up its customer spots to the public after-hours.
The project will install an eight-foot sidewalk along Saranac Street, from the Tannery to the intersection of Saranac and Ammonoosuc, on the side of the Marketplace. It will tie into an existing sidewalk, and expand the River District to include the Tannery. Connectivity is a key goal.
Project leaders said that Ammonoosuc Street will be the same width, though still slightly narrower than Saranac (which will be widened) and still open to two-way traffic.