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Renewed hope for Pine Street Bridge construction

September 29, 2010
TILTON — Holden Engineering was back before the Tilton selectmen last week with better news on the Pine Street Bridge project, which is being held up as the town awaits a new wetlands permit from the Department of Environmental Services.

On Sept. 9 Peter Holden came before the board with news that DES would require a new permit since dimensions of the box over Packer Brook was decreased from 10 feet to six feet in width. He said that approval could take as much as a few months to arrive with the backlog being experienced at DES for wetlands permits. On Sept. 23, however, he said he hoped a letter sent in mid-September to DES would move things along in time for construction this year.

"DES has a process to expedite reviews. I wrote and explained the situation and I expect we're on top of that list now," Holden said.

In his letter Holden told the state that delays in building this bridge would create a hardship for the municipality. Access for residents, postal workers, trash removal, and highway and emergency crews are limited without the bridge. He said municipal hardships are often given expedited consideration.

"You posed a good argument. That was a good letter," said Selectman Katherine Dawson.

The board then reviewed the contract that would go out to bidders on the project, making only a few minor corrections on dates. Ads will be placed in several local and statewide papers in hopes of attracting the lowest bid possible on the project. Specifics included in the ad, Holden said, will advise contractors right away about what the town is looking for in a bid package.

"They'll have to provide worker's comp insurance and things like that. We'll let them decide if they want to bid or not from there," said Holden.

Bidders will be required to have state approval for their company through the Department of Transportation in order to be awarded the job. Should there ultimately be a delay in the permit from DES, the winning contractor will also be required to hold the price of the initial bid until the wetlands approval is received.

Completion date for the first part of the project is listed as Dec. 1. Per the request of Public Works Director Dennis Allen, the waring course of pavement would not be laid until spring, with a final deadline for that portion of the job listed as May 16, 2011. Allen felt that date gave companies ample time to wait for warmer weather and finish the paving.

"Dennis wanted to wait and make sure everything was all set over the winter before applying the (final coat of asphalt), but the bridge with a base coat on it would be useable in the meantime," Holden said.

Selectmen were pleased with both the news that the project could potentially move forward this year as well as the contents of the contract Holden had drawn up. Dawson said it was "100 percent lopsided" for the town, protecting Tilton's interests while including all facets of the job requirements.

"I can't find any holes in it. You've got it all covered," she said.

Martin Lord Osman
Brewster Academy
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