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Good weather helps town get head start on projects


by Thomas Beeler
Editor of The Granite State News

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LYMAN CONSTRUCTION crews were busy Tuesday afternoon, March 27, installing the major drainage pipe adjacent to the Glendon Street parking lot and Bridge Falls Path in Wolfeboro. Construction work in this area should be finished in May but work on the adjoining downtown streets will continue into the fall. (Thomas Beeler photo) (click for larger version)
March 29, 2012
WOLFEBORO — If you have been downtown in the past week you know that Wolfeboro's cleanup and construction season is off to a fast start this year.

Public Works department crews are out removing sand and debris from sidewalks and the contracted street sweeper is expected this week.

Most of the activity, however, is focused on the Downtown Streets project, which involves replacing water and sewer lines, improving drainage, upgrading sidewalks and rebuilding the roadbeds on Central Avenue, Depot Square, and Glendon, Lehner and School Streets. While an earlier section of the project was completed on Union Street two years ago, the overall project was held up by the process of getting funding for new sidewalks from Carpenter School to Foss Field from the Safe Routes to Schools program. That sidewalk funding is now in place, and, thanks to voter approval of Articles 14 and 15 last week, funding for the two remaining components has been secured.

According to Public Works Director Dave Ford crews from Lyman Construction of Gilford have been removing sidewalks on Glendon and Lehner Streets and installing temporary water lines to provide water to homes and businesses while the water mains are replaced. From this point through the next few months both pedestrians and motorists should use caution in traveling these streets, since they will be active work areas. Drivers who are used to cutting through from Center Street to downtown should be prepared for delays and one-lane traffic patterns. Drivers passing through may want to avoid these street altogether. Businesses and residences on these street will always be accessible, Ford emphasized.

The temporary water lines are expected to be activated on Friday, March 30. Replacement of the permanent water lines can then begin. This will involve digging up the streets.

While the water lines are being replaced, sewer lines will also be repaired

Drainage work

A major part of the work involves improving drainage in the area, with a new pipe running from Carpenter School down to a new outflow pipe being installed in Back Bay: visitors to the area may have noticed a cofferdam installed where the headwall for the outflow pipe will be installed.

Ford explained that the new drainage is designed to handle both high flows (as in heavy rains) and low flows. A new treatment tank will be installed that will remove sediment from the drainage. Low flows (one inch of rain or less) will be directed to a treatment swale, a grassy depression that will have trees planted on both sides, to absorb the drainage water. High flows/heavy rains will still be treated but the excess water will be directed to the new outflow pipe.

Most pollution flowing into the lake occurs during low flows, so treating the drainage and allowing it to be absorbed before it can reach the lake is important.

Lyman Construction is using the gravel area adjacent to the Glendon Street parking lot as a staging area, and trees and brush have been cleared in the area between Glendon and the Bridge Falls Path. Ford says that Lyman will be out of the parking area by May 15 and the Bridge Falls Path will be completely clear, just in time for the Smith River Canoe and Kayak Race, which marks the beginning of tourist season activities. Construction will continue through the summer into the fall, however.

Ford has been impressed by the speed of the contractor, taking advantage of the head start the early warm weather has provided. "With luck the bulk of the work may get done by the end of the year," Ford says.

Once construction is complete in 2013, the parking lot will be rebuilt and expanded to include the gravel area acquired by the town tow years ago.

After the drainage, sewer and water work is completed, new concrete sidewalks will be installed and the streets will be repaved.

"It will be a temporary inconvenience," Ford says, "but the permanent improvements will make the disruptions very worthwhile."

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