Approximately 2 mi. (2.9 km) of Candia Road in Manchester, N.H., have been in the process of being reconstructed, but as the state engineer for the project said, “We’re doing one section at a time.”
That may be just one of the frustrations for Frank LaPoint, contract administrator of the New Hampshire Department of Transportation (NHDOT), as the work slowly progresses, which may be the project’s only game plan.
There have already been a number of delays with the work since it started in February 2005, due in large part to local utility companies that have been unable to keep up with the schedule. But when workers do have the opportunity to do their job, it is in small increments.
“People live there, so we will open up only 1,000 feet at a time,” said Boyd Watkins, project superintendent of R.S. Audley of Bow, N.H. It takes between five and 10 weeks to complete each section.
Workers cannot move any faster than that because a great deal of work must be done on the telephone lines by Verizon before anything else can be done, according to Watkins. However, much of the utility work is simply not being completed on time.
LaPoint explained that it is not part of the contract the state has with Audley, so items like the removal of telephone poles is simply out of their control.
“It is slow because of the delays,” LaPoint said. “We are waiting for the utilities to get things done.”
Watkins said he also has experienced the same problems.
“In the last several years, it has been common,” Watkins said. “It is a headache and an inconvenience.”
Police have controlled traffic throughout the construction area, but it is quite rough and dusty. Traffic has been controlled by daytime lane shifts and lane closures, although no detours have been needed, Watkins added.
In early September, construction crews were working on a segment of road toward the easternmost stretch of the road, not far from the traffic circle. The work there consists of paving and sewer line installation.
The work extends from Exit 6 on Interstate 93 toward the northeast to the Massabesic Traffic Circle where Candia Road intersects with State Route 28. The road can be used as a cutoff for traffic in eastern Manchester traveling north on I-93 and turning east on Route 101, one of the primary routes to the Atlantic coast. Much of the work will simply repair a highway that is no longer in satisfactory condition.
“It was in pretty bad shape because it has had a lot of commuter traffic for Manchester,” Watkins commented. “Besides, the infrastructure was bad along the Massabesic water supply. It is a worthy project.”
Before this project was started, any repairs that were done were patched in a piecemeal fashion, so there were many repairs in the pavement that motorists had to straddle.
“There are not a lot of fills and cuts. It is pretty much putting the road back to where it was,” said LaPoint.
A granite ledge exists beneath the roadbed which has to be removed. Maine Drilling and Blasting of Auburn, N.H., is the subcontractor in charge of that. Audley also is using the services of Continental Paving of Londonderry, N.H., as well as a number of other subcontractors.
Each section of reconstructed road will be entirely torn apart and put back together with the new roadbed, which goes 30 in. (76.2 cm) deep. But it also includes new storm drainage, gravity sewer line and signalization, the last of which LaPoint said is basically out of date.
“The sewer system is the root of the project,” Watkins said.
The street has never had a sidewalk or curbing along this distance, so it will receive those for the first time as well.
A number of specific intersections along the route are getting attention, including those at Industrial Park Drive (which leads to Lake Shore Hospital), Hanover Street and Bridge Street. As many as 11 other intersections along the road are within the scope of the project.
Much of the work is being completed with the help of machinery such as Caterpillars and Mack and Peterbilt trucks.
Work is not expected to be finished on the $8.7-million project until July 2007, but that date is still up in the air. Workers will probably keep going until December 2006 when the frost in the ground will prevent them from going any further. Watkins said he suspected that will keep his crews from returning to the site until next April. From then on, it is anyone’s guess. CEG