By Susan Morse
Hampton Union, Tuesday, October 31, 2006
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON -- The Hampton Board of Selectmen voted Monday night for the lesser of two projects to repair the Neil Underwood Memorial Bridge over Hampton Harbor.
The $5 million price tag will not be borne by taxpayers, said David Scott, design chief for the state Department of 1 Transportation's Bureau of Bridge Design.
Selectmen present were in unanimous agreement for the state to make needed repairs to the bridge, but not to do what Scott called the "full blown" project for $7.7 million.
"I'm in favor of the minimal (project) because eventually I would like to see a new bridge there," said Selectman Bill Lally.
Scott gave the town the option of having the work done at night or during the day. Night work would close the Hampton Harbor bridge from 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. for a year, while day work would close one lane of the bridge during non-summer months for two construction seasons.
Selectmen chose the day option, saying emergency crews need to cross the bridge to get to Hampton residents living in Sun Valley.
Repair work will include replacing the concrete deck and the manual crash gate with an automated gate, and is expected to get under way in April 2008.
Selectmen also listened to plans to replace the Taylor River Bridge and dam at Interstate 95. The bridge is deteriorating and a fish ladder there is not functional, said the DOT's Robert Landry.
The state considered removing the dam to promote fish passage, said Landry. Residents of the abutting Taylor River Estates have said they want the pond to remain and the state is listening to their concerns, said Mary Boynton, who lives in the neighborhood.
The bridge is the border between Hampton and Hampton Falls. Construction is expected in 2010, with a public meeting scheduled in Hampton, Hampton Falls or both towns in early 2007.