Center section of Union Ave. goes back under the knife

LACONIA — Although cold weather and snow storms lingered into the spring, City Manager Scott Myers said yesterday that the two major public works projects underway — the reconstruction of Union Avenue and the Main Street Bridge — are both on schedule.

Save for curbing and sidewalks, the first phase of the work on Union Avenue, from Messer Street to Walker Street, was completed by the start of Motorcycle Week as planned and this week the second phase of the project, from Gilford Avenue to Walker Street, began. Myers said that work would proceed northward from Gilford Avenue with the aim of finishing the stretch past Laconia High School by the time classes resume in late August.

Myers said that work will begin with the digging of test pits near the intersection of Union Avenue and Lyman Street to assess the stormwater drainage and sanitary sewer pipes. Rebuilding some 250 feet of sanitary sewer pipe will begin before the week is out. Improvement of stormwater drainage, including the replacement of a major drain crossing Union Avenue just south of the high school, will follow mains and natural gas lines. Near the end of the month the construction of a new water main will begin at Gilford Avenue then proceed northward to connect with the new main laid during the first phase of the project in from the Taylor Community. The project, save for the top coat of asphalt on the roadway, is expected to be complete by the onset on cold weather in October.

During the second phase of the work Union Avenue will be closed to southbound traffic but open to northbound traffic during working hours on weekdays. Where Union Avenue joins Messer Street, southbound traffic will be detoured along Messer Street to Bisson Avenue then to Davis Place, rejoining Union Avenue at Normandin Square.

The second of the four phases of the Main Street Bridge project began this month as work began to cut and remove a portion of the deck on Main Street. Although northbound traffic must negotiate a kink in the roadway at the foot of Main Street, the traffic pattern set with the first phase has not changed.

However, when the third phase of the project begins in August the construction area will shift further to the west, triggering a change in the traffic pattern. Beacon Street East will open to northbound traffic, Main Street will remain open to northbound traffic and Beacon Street West will carry southbound traffic across the river. Only the link between Beacon Street West and Beacon Street East will be closed by the construction site.