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Main Street likely to be finished next year

Delays have pushed timetable up

August 26, 2009
LITTLETON—While the majority of Main Street reconstruction is slated be completed this year, it appears the finishing touches will be next year.

John Seely, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation Contract Administrator overseeing the project, said Monday it is likely the final coat of asphalt will not be put on until the middle of May 2010. Everything will look complete by October, however.

"The best thing for the job will be to let it sit all winter, that way any problems that arise can be fixed in the spring and the final coat put on," Seely said. "The last bit of work next year would only take a few weeks."

Work on the long-awaited reconstruction project began in April after years of planning and several votes at town meeting. The project is completely revamping Main Street from the Opera House to the Post Office. Originally the project was to include all of Main Street but there was not enough money. The selectmen are currently looking for federal funds to help pay for the remainder of Main Street.

While no definite decision has been made to delay the project until next year, Seely said with all the work remaining it is unlikely work will be done before the end of year. Paving after October is problematic he said because of potential cold weather. In order to do the contract, NorthEast Earth Mechanics, of Pittsfield, would have to apply for a special permit from the state. He thinks it unlikely the permit will be sought.

Seely said the project has been delayed several times, which will make it unlikely to be completed this year. Originally the project was slated to be finished by Nov. 15.

The biggest delay, Seely said, was the town putting the project back out to bid late last year.

"Under the original schedule work could have been done last year," Seely said. "The timetable didn't change while the time allotted for work did."

Other delays were the discovery of ledge in some areas, as well as an old sewer line in the area of the Jax Jr. Cinema, which was blocked and causing flooding. Engineers had thought the old line long abandoned. Clearing the obstructions in the line and tying it into the new took time, he said.

When the project wraps up for the year, the sidewalks will all be replaced, sewer lines replaced, waterlines repaired, parking meters put in and light posts put up. In the coming weeks Seely said work will begin on replacing sidewalks, setting granite curbs, and doing the last of the drainage work between Pleasant Street and Cottage Street. A few more sewer tie-ins also have to be done, Seely said.

When crews pack up and leave for the year the project will look complete, Seely said. All that will remain to be done in the spring will be to do adjustments to the level of manhole covers, and then put a final coat of asphalt over it all.

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