LACONIA — The City Council last night approved a temporary traffic order that will permit some — but not all — trucks to use River Street to enter the site where River's Edge, a 32-unit apartment building, is under construction.
River Street runs southward along the east bank of the Winnipesaukee River from Church Street to Arch Street. River Street is open to truck traffic between Church Street and Jewett Street, but signs at the intersections with Jewett and Arch streets signal that trucks are prohibited on the last leg of the street — about 90 yards — from Jewett Street to Arch Street.
The order represents a compromise negotiated after the council shelved the original order, which would have opened River Street to all trucks for a year, after Kerren Horn, the sole property owner on the street, warned that the heavy truck traffic would damage the roadway and threaten the riverbank.
Access to the River's Edge construction site is at the foot of Arch Street. Although most trucks can negotiate the right-angle turn required to enter the site, tractor trailers with long wheel bases cannot. They reach the site from Union Avenue by following Jewett Street, to River Street which leads directly into the site.
The revised order approved by the council will remove the signs prohibiting truck traffic on River Street between Jewett Street and Arch Street, where "trucking as needed" to be allowed between 7 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. All trucks using the roadway must obey a speed limit of not more than 10 miles per hour.
At the same time, the site superintendent for Eckman Construction has undertaken "to make every effort to limit the trucks using this roadway to long-wheel based units that would have difficulty accessing the project site from other directions." At the initiative of Councilor Bob Hamel (Ward 5) the order as drafted was amended to specify that except for tractor trailers all other trucks must enter the site via Arch Street.
In addition, Northpoint Engineering, LLC and Eckman Construction will be responsible for documenting the condition of the roadway and riverbank and notifying all vendors of the limitations placed on use of the road. Finally, the project engineer and contractor have also agreed to ensure that River Street and Arch Street are regularly swept with a power sweeper.
The temporary traffic order will remain in place until June 30, 2016, when the project, being developed by the Laconia Area Community Land Trust, is expected to be complete. At that time, the signs prohibiting all truck traffic on River Street will be re-erected.
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