Selectmen officially accept new Hilltop Road


July 29, 2009
LITTLETON—Hilltop Road has officially moved, with the town taking over a new portion of road built by Littleton Regional Hospital (LRH).

During last Wednesday's meeting of the Board of Selectmen, the board voted to accept the newly built portion of the road and abandon the old portion, giving up its right of way and letting the use of the property revert to LRH, the property owner.

All the work was paid for by LRH and no tax monies were used for the project.

Voters approved moving the road 165 feet during this year's town meeting. LRH needed to move the road because of a 55,000 square foot medical office expansion it is building. There was not enough room with the old location of the road. The change gives the hospital around 6.5 acres of additional developable space.

The road also improved visibility in some areas, which was reduced by depressions in the road, and moving the road widened travel lanes.

"It's a big improvement in the sight distance," said board Chair Eddy Moore.

George Brodeur, who is overseeing the project for the hospital, said there is $40,000 to cover the remaining work on the road and dismantling the old road. Traffic has already been detoured from the old road onto the new road, Brodeur said. A ribbon cutting is scheduled for sometime in August to mark the event.

Part of the work in building the new road and removing the old road is wetlands mitigation, for those 20,000 square feet of wetlands offset by the construction. Since LRH will not be able to create enough new wetlands to replace those being displaced, it is paying a fee of $35,000 into the Department of Environmental Services wetland fund, which is used to create and preserve wetlands throughout the state.

Selectman Ron Bolt joked this was his first road, and wondered if it met all Department of Transportation specifications, to which Town Manager Chuck Connell replied that it did.

Resident Bruce Hadlock brought up an issue that slowed down demolition of the old road for several days after the meeting. Before any work could proceed removing the old road, the change removing the right of way had to be indicated on the deed at the Registry of Deeds in Haverhill.

George McNamara, who is working on the project with Brodeur, said they were anxiously waiting to start blasting and they couldn't wait for the paperwork to be filed.

Connell said they would have to wait.

"Mr. Hadlock is correct, you have to have the deed prepared, which should only be a matter of a day or two," Connell said.

Brodeur wasn't pleased with the delay.

"I have to strongly disagree with you since the selectmen have already accepted the new road and it's already being used," Brodeur said.

The building, when completed, is to be somewhere between 50,000 and 55,000 square feet and add 175 new parking spaces.

Estimates last year were that the project would cost $13 million to $15 million and add roughly 45 new employees to LRH's payroll.

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