DOT commits to rebuild of 106 in Belmont/Laconia

BELMONT — N.H. Department of Transportation Asst. Director William Cass told selectmen yesterday that the entire stretch of Rte. 106 between Perkins Road and the Laconia "urban compact zone" or where the city takes over road maintenance and plowing will be rebuilt next year.

Cass told the board members, who had gathered at the intersection of Brown Hill Road and Rte. 106 with District 7 State Sen. Andrew Hosmer (D-Laconia) and local police, that the shim coat laid on the road earlier this summer was to "get the road through the winter."

He said the bids are scheduled to go out in March, with a summer construction season and a fall completing time. Cass added that there are two sections of that stretch of road that were rebuilt in the late 1990s and those will get an overlay.

"I'm really glad the deputy commissioner came out," said Hosmer who had been contacted by Belmont officials about the safety hazards at the Brown Hill Road intersection.

"We need these roads improved for safety and our economy," Hosmer continued. "I will be keeping an eye on it to make sure it doesn't get pushed to the back burner."

Belmont selectmen became acutely aware of the problem at the Brown Hill Road intersection earlier this summer when they learned that the DOT was planning on building a fuel depot on state land at the intersection. After listening to the concerns of the town about the location and the condition of the road, the DOT withdrew that plan.

In addition, Laconia officials met in 2014 with former DOT Commissioner Chris Clement about some of the roads outside its urban compact zone and included Rte 106 into Belmont as one of its priority concerns.

Selectman Jon Pike has long contended that the intersection at Brown Hill Road is almost as dangerous as the intersection at Seavey Road and that the entire section of Rte. 106, especially that section that runs from Seavey Road through to Wildlife Boulevard and Perkins Road has been ignored in recent years by the DOT.

Police Lt. Rich Mann said making a turn on Brown Hill Road or exiting from it to Rte. 106 is problematic because of the heavy volume of traffic, the speed of the traffic and sight line difficulties from the south near Wildlife Boulevard.

Cass said there is federal money available for the project so it is not as dependent on the state budget as other state highway projects can be.

CUTLINE: Selectman Jon Pike talks about the intersection of Brown Hill Road and Rte. 106 with N.H. DOT Deputy Commissioner William Cass during a site visit yesterday afternoon. From left to right are Sen. Andrew Hosmer, Selectman Ron Cormier, Selectman Ruth Mooney, DOT engineer Toby Reynolds, Pike, and Cass. Behind them is Belmont Highway Director Jim Fortin. (Laconia Daily Sun photo/Gail Ober)

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'Monumental' oak on upper Union Ave. endangered by curb cut

LACONIA — The large, spreading oak tree standing between Dunkin' Donuts and Dairy Queen on upper Union Avenue may become the next casualty of the construction of a commercial building by Cafua Management, Inc. on the lot where the Hathaway House once stood.

When the Planning Board approved the site plan for the project it stipulated that "the large oak tree near the northeast corner of the property is a monumental shade tree, and as such shall be protected and maintain(ed) during and after construction."

Planning Director Shanna Saunders said yesterday that a representative of Cafua Management, Inc. indicated to her that the company will request permission to remove the tree. When the Planning Board met this week Assistant Planner Brandee Loughlin informed members that a request to remove the tree would be forthcoming and encouraged them to familiarize themselves with the property. She said that because of the size of the tree and sensitivity of the site, removal of the tree would require approval by the board.

The tree is rooted in the sidewalk, within six feet of the curb cut defining the entrance and exit to the property, which is close to the northeast corner of the lot. The trunk of the tree, which is 14 feet around, all but totally obscures the view of the southbound lane of traffic on Union Avenue of a motorist leaving the site. At the same time, the tree is approximately ten yards south of a second curb cut for vehicles leaving Dairy Queen next door, largely screening motorists exiting both sites from one another. And even if two motorists were leaving each site at the same time they would have no way of knowing which direction they were taking.

In addition, Scott McPhie, conservation technician in the Planning Department, said that when the site plan was reviewed, concern was expressed about the condition of the tree. The roots of the tree grow amid sewer, drainage and gas lines. McPhie said that excavation and backfilling may have damaged the root system enough to impair the health and shorten the life of the tree, which could only be determined by a professional arborist.

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Laconia police search for assault suspect

LACONIA — Police are investigating a report of woman who was assaulted Sunday at 12:31 a.m. by a white walking on the sidewalk near 235 Union Avenue, just south of Busy Corner.

Police said the woman was slightly injured but was not transported to the hospital.

The man may have left in a silver 4-door Mazda that was seen in the area during the time.

Video footage from a nearby location shows a thin, white male of undetermined height with dark hair and police are looking to speak with him about the incident.

If anyone has any information they are asked to call the Laconia Police at 524-5252 or 524-1717.

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