A pickup nears a section of deteriorated road on Union Avenue near Elm Street on Wednesday. A $5 million program has been proposed to make major repairs on Court Street and Union Avenue, two of Laconia’s busiest roads. (Photo by Rick Green, Laconia Daily Sun)
By RICK GREEN, LACONIA DAILY SUN
LACONIA — A total of $5 million in road work would be done on Union Avenue and Court Street under a proposal by the city’s Public Works Department.
Bond financing would pay for the construction.
Public Works Director Wes Anderson said Wednesday that, if approved by the City Council, design work for the Court Street project would be done this year, with construction next year.
Ultimately, Court Street would be improved from its intersection with Main Street to the Belmont town line.
Design work on Union Avenue from its intersection with Main Street to Gilford Avenue and from its intersection with Elm Street to Stark Street would be done next year, with construction starting in 2019.
Anderson said these arterial roads are among the busiest in the city, and truck traffic adds to the stress. They are in need of reconstruction and extensive drainage work. The roads have very rough surfaces and are prone to collecting standing water.
Once the work is completed, motorists should notice a smoother ride, and there will be less wear and tear on vehicles.
“Portions of these roads are broken up, pot-holed and settled,” Anderson said. “We get complaints from both residents and the council. Our main arterials take some of the hardest beatings.”
The city has an annual road repair program of $1.5 million a year. That program would continue while bond funds pay to improve Union Avenue and Court Street.
However, interest on the bonds would ultimately reduce money available for the annual program unless other sources of funding are identified.
City Councilor Henry Lipman said such other sources could include state infrastructure funds or one-time money from city property sales.
Another possibility that could be studied for certain areas would be tax increment financing. This is a mechanism that allows municipalities to fund infrastructure improvements in a given district by borrowing money and paying off the debt with increased property tax revenue fostered by those improvements.
“Good quality roads are part of something every taxpayer uses,” Lipman said. “Good roads are important for facilitating commerce and creating an attractive place to make an investment.”
He said that in recent years, there has been an enhanced effort to improve roads that had deteriorated. This effort will accelerate if the city’s annual $1.5 million roads program is enhanced by $2.5 million in bond funds each of the next two fiscal years.
“We would be spending at least $4 million on road improvements each of the next two years as we try to get caught up on roads,” he said.
- Written by Rick Green
- Category: Local News
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