Bridge work

The bridge that carries Route 3 over the railroad tracks at Weirs Beach will be closed to vehicular traffic for several weeks in the spring. (Adam Drapcho/The Laconia Daily Sun photo)

LACONIA — If you liked this year’s road construction season, just wait until 2020!

An 18-mile detour awaits at The Weirs.

The state Department of Transportation will shut down Endicott Street, just north of the traffic circle, for up to two months to rehabilitate a bridge over railroad tracks.

Work on the $1.5 million project is to be done in a construction window from March 15 to May 15.

Charles Gulbicki, owner of Gulbicki Towing and Auto Repair at 1193 Weirs Boulevard, said his location, just south of the bridge, means he will have to go a half-hour out of his way to pick up a car just north of the bridge, and another half-hour to get back.

“S-U-C-K, it’s going to suck, but what are you going to do?” he asked. “It’s got to be done. You’ve got to deal with it, as they say.”

He said most other businesses in the area are seasonal and likely won’t be affected as much as his.

“I’m busy all the time,” Gulbicki said. “Most everybody else is closed. They don’t open until right before Bike Week.”

Pedestrians and emergency vehicles will be able to skirt the construction work to avoid the detour, but if someone living north of the bridge wanted to drive to the U.S. Post Office south of the bridge, they would have quite a trip in store. They would have to take Endicott Street North to Roller Coaster Road, to Parade Road, to Elm Street, to Union Avenue, to Weirs Boulevard, to Endicott Street East. To get home, they would reverse that route.

John Sargent of the state transportation department’s Bureau of Bridge Design, said inspections revealed that the deck area of the bridge is in poor condition.

It was built in its current configuration in 1933. The original split stone abutment dates to 1848.

Traffic in the area ranges from 9,000 to 14,000 vehicles a day.

Laconia Public Works Director Wes Anderson said other road work in the city will be staged to avoid closures on detour routes for the bridge project.

When traffic reopens at The Weirs, work will commence on a 14-week project to repair Union Avenue from Walnut Street to Stark Street. That project should be done by mid-September.

Another major project will be a bridge replacement on Court Street over Durkee Brook. That work is scheduled for after Labor Day. An exact timeline for the project hasn’t been developed yet.

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