GILFORD — Selectmen agreed last night by consensus to replace a failing culvert under Potter Hill Road before it collapses entirely.
Public Works Director Peter Nourse said that during a rain storm on August 24, sink holes developed around the culvert area. Town employees placed cones over the sinkholes and Nourse had the road posted to a 3-ton maximum.
Nourse said further examination showed that the culvert is constructed of very large stones and nearly all of the chinking that was between the stones has eroded. He said the culvert allows water from an unnamed stream from Mount Rowe to pass to Gunstock Brook.
He said his plans are to use about $100,000 from a balance in the Highway Department paving line to install a precast concrete culvert with a closed bottom that will have similar water capacity.
Selectmen discussed two options for paying for the repair they all agree is necessary. The first was re-purposing the money from the paving surplus or taking funds from the capital reserve fund set aside for bridges.
Nourse said the state department of transportation defines a bridge as a span of 10-feet by 10-feet or greater and that the Potter Hill Road culvert is 4-feet by 4-feet and it doesn't qualify as a bridge.
He noted that the $400,000 in the bridge capital reserve fund will be needed for a red-listed bridge repair on Old Lake Shore Road that will be getting some state matching funds in a few years.
Nourse said he is working with the state Department of Environmental Resources for a plan that will be as minimally invasive as possible. He added that the Division of Historical Resources said there was nothing of historical value in the area around the culvert.
After discussion the options, selectmen decided to take the money from the paving fund rather than the bridge capital account.
In other business, selectmen voted to take a $41,360 fee for design engineering from the construction budget of the new police station and pay for it from the administrative contracted services line. Town Administrator Scott Dunn said engineering services were never supposed to come from the construction budget.
Selectmen also voted to accept a change order of $5,782 to pay for wiring in the police station fire alarm and fire hydrant systems. Dunn noted that when the engineers designed the plan, those rules were not mandated by the state but now they are.
With the most recent changes and the removal of the design engineering fees, Dunn said there is $451 left unencumbered in the construction budget.
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