Rockingham Street construction to be done by Nov. 1?
BELLOWS FALLS -- The Rockingham highway supervisor now hopes for "smooth sailing" after a busted water line, partnered with poor weather and unforeseen utilities, forced the construction work in The Square to fall a little behind schedule.
Mike Hindes told the Reformer that Buck Adams Trucking & Excavating, of Westminster, has been tasked with repaving Rockingham Street from in front of the Town Hall to the Arch Bridge, which connects Vermont with New Hampshire. Municipal Manager Willis D. "Chip" Stearns II mentioned at a Bellows Falls Village Board of Trustees meeting last week that section of road will be closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., Sunday through Thursday, for the following month and a half to two months, but on Wednesday Hindes said that start time was pushed back to 8 p.m. since last Sunday and will likely stay that way until the end of September.
He also said the design had to be slightly re-engineered after private underground utilities were discovered, but the work was back on track following a few feet of detour. He said he hopes the work will be finished by Nov. 1.
The highway supervisor said there is new sewer line underneath the patches that can now be seen on Rockingham Street. Buck Adams was working in the field and unable for comment when the Reformer called Wednesday afternoon.
Hindes said the weather has also slowed the project, which was tied up for about 18 hours when a waterline broke Friday morning. He said his crew members, who are not working on the project, served as traffic flaggers for that 18 hours until the road was repaired. He explained the one-and-a-quarter-inch copper piping was a little bigger than his highway department was equipped to handle, so his crew took care of the busted waterline (because it belongs to the village) and a local plumber restored water service to a nearby merchant that had been cut off. Aside from that, he said, there was not much damage.
Hindes said the public, unlike the weather, has been very cooperative with the work. He said that -- despite the sometimes blistering heat -- the summer is the best time for paving and repaving work because of the warmer weather. He told the Reformer he delivered a portable water pump to construction workers Wednesday night so they could pressure-test the sewer line they had been installing over the past few days. Hindes said
"It's a town project -- whatever it takes to get the job done, I'm willing to do it," he said, adding that the workers will use the pump to get rid of excess water once they finish the pressure-testing.
Hindes told the Reformer the work being done is typical for town from time to time. He said many towns don't have a stormwater drainage, but Bellows Falls is fortunate to have one in addition to great water and sewer systems. He said Maurice Kelly, a former public official who died last year, had the insights decades ago to upgrade the water and sewer systems and install one for stormwater.
"I can't even tell you what the cost would cost nowadays," he said.
Domenic Poli can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277. You can follow him on Twitter @dpoli_reformer.
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