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Long-term plan proposed for Pleasant Valley Road

Spot repairs and shim paving not holding up, residents complain

A SECTION of Pleasant Valley Road, photographed by Stacie Pope on March 17, shows how badly the pavement is breaking up in some sections. (Courtesy photo - Stacie Pope) (click for larger version)
April 28, 2011
WOLFEBORO — More than a dozen residents living on or using Pleasant Valley Road came to the April 20 Wolfeboro selectmen's meeting to urge the town to come up with a long-term plan to rebuild the road rather than merely patching it.

It's not as if the town has been neglecting Pleasant Valley Road in recent years. In 2007-08 a section of the road below DeVylder's Farm was rebuilt with two large culvert following a washout, and last year, in response to complaints, $25,000 was found to pave 2,500 feet of the road.

Even then Public Works Director Dave Ford warned the Board of Selectmen that Pleasant Valley Road needed a major overhaul that would involve replacing existing culverts with larger ones and adding others to improve drainage and literally rebuilding sections of the roadway from its base up.

In planning for roadwork in 2011 and later Ford recommended increasing the annual road maintenance and repair budget from $550,000 to $750,000 in order to accelerate work on Pleasant Valley Road.

Buzz White, a resident of Point Breeze, said the Pleasant Valley Road has been in disrepair for many years and that the $200,000 allocated for 2011 work is not enough. He urged the town to "really fix one section of the road and do it properly…You've got to get to the base of the road. Just a top coat disappears within a year," he said.

Brackett Road resident and Vice Chair of the Planning Board Stacie Pope also urged a long-term plan for fixing Pleasant Valley Road. She said there were safety concerns about the condition of the road: the school bus goes down as far as Brackett and Warren Sands Roads and puts children at risk; two vehicles passing one another in some sections is very risky; and emergency vehicles cannot negotiate the road at any speed. The poor road condition also increases wear and tear on cars while inhibiting property sales.

Pope pointed out that the $200,000 increase in the road budget was all due to Pleasant Valley Road. She said according to Dave Ford going into 2011 the question of whether to do a shim and overlay paving or rebuild 4,300 feet would be based on how well the shim and overlay done in 2010 held up over the winter. Pope said it did badly and even rebuilding 4,300 feet was only a start since the road is 18,000 feet. She asked if there was any way to guarantee that a phased plan for Pleasant Valley Road would be supported over the years needed to complete it.

Pope also read a letter from Warren Sands Road resident Bobbi Boudman expressing concerns about the safety of her six-year-old son on the road.

Barbara Stave spoke for the 32 families on Orchard Drive, a private road off of Pleasant Valley Road. She said their road was resurfaced a few years ago and is in good shape, but the condition of Pleasant Valley Road means that their neighborhood is isolated. Residents are concerned how quickly emergency vehicles can get to their road and how difficult it is to get to town and back. Residents include four long-range commuters who have to leave at 5-5:30 a.m., five doctors and six others in healthcare, 11 educators, the police chief and a state legislator. She said residents want to see a long-term plan that will fix the road properly.

Bob Stave, President of the Orchard Drive Association, said their road was built properly in 1986 with "an excellent subsurface and drainage" and has stood up well as a result. He said Pleasant Valley Road should be rebuilt, with large rocks taken out and drainage improved.

Town response

Selectman Linda Murray agreed it is time to do Pleasant Valley Road right. She said she lives at the end of the road and knows just how bad it can be. "The town does fix potholes, but two days later there are more."

Selectman Dave Senecal said his wife drives a school bus eight times a day down Pleasant Valley Road and has heard an "earful" from her about how bad the road is for her and her students. She has even asked for helmets for the students to protect them from bumping their heads.

Public Works Director Ford acknowledged that Pleasant Valley Road is "a major problem that we are late in addressing."

He said he had developed a plan to rebuild the road for the Capital Improvement Plan, but the projected cost of $800,000 was considered too much to ask voters to support in a single year, so Ford came up with a phased alternative budgeted at $200,000 for 2011 and part of the $750,000 for road repairs and maintenance approved by voters last March.

After reviewing the status of other projects planned for 2011 (see separate article) and reviewing funds left over from work done in 2010, Ford presented a three-phrase plan estimated at $253,047.

Phase I would rebuild a section from New Garden Road to 444 Pleasant Valley Road, a distance of 4,230 feet. The work would include installing replacement and added culverts using town staff, grinding up the road, regrading it, and applying a two-inch base pavement.

Phase II would rebuild a section from Townsend Brook to Brackett Road, a distance of 3,000 feet. In addition to installing new culverts in-house, grinding up the road and regrading it, a filter fabric will be applied before a base paving is done.

Phase III would apply 1.5 inches of asphalt between the two large culverts installed in 2007-08, a distance of 900 feet.

The 7,230 feet of the road rebuilt and base paved in 2011 (Phase I and II) will receive a final wear coat in 2012. Both rebuilt sections will receive new gravel shoulders and have center and fog lines repainted.

Ford said the road needs to dry out well before the work can begin. He estimated the drainage work would be done in August, followed by rebuilding in September and paving in October.

In all Ford estimated it would take up to five years to rebuild the whole road. The section of the road from Route 28 in will have to be redone. He warned that the new work will make the road smoother and speeding may become a problem. Even after it is rebuilt, Ford said Pleasant Valley Road is not a road where you can do 40-50 MPH safely.

North Country Environmental
Martin Lord Osman
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