We are experiencing a recent and unanticipated culvert/road collapse on Partridge Lane, a cul-de-sac off Beccaris Drive. The culvert is 15 ft deep and crosses the road perpendicularly; the water/sewer pipes are 9-10 ft deep running roughly parallel to the road, each in their separate channels. The culvert is collapsing causing the road to sag and apply uneven distribution of pressure on the water/sewer lines. The water main has broken twice within the past few days and should there be a failure in the sewer line, we would be facing serious environmental consequences as the effluent makes its way to the Salmon Falls River. We are taking the following steps to prevent such an occurrence.
Our road agent has met with several contractors at the site to review possible remedies. The board entered into a no-cost professional services agreement with Hoyle Tanner and Associates of Portsmouth, an action that we have been contemplating for several weeks. We immediately hired HTA to provide engineering consulting on the Partridge Lane culvert. At the Select Board meeting of 4/20/15, we received rough cost estimates of 75k-100k from HTA, an amount beyond our appropriated budget. The engineers are still working on more precise numbers but in the meantime we need to determine how best to get the funding to repair the culvert and dependent utilities. The depth of the culvert, water and sewer pipes in addition to the presence of cable, phone and electrical utilities adds to the complexity and cost of the project. We will also likely need to provide temporary lodging for the residents of the two homes that will be blocked by the repair work. (Our engineers advise us that trying to design a phased approach to the repair work will add to the cost and length of the project).
We have a $200k road repair warrant, $150k of which is already out to bid for Baer Road. We are earmarking the $50k balance to the Partridge Lane culvert project. We have been communicating with the NH Department of Revenue Administration regarding how best to fund the remainder of the project. The DRA has urged us to continue with our remediation plans while simultaneously beginning the process of identifying a revenue source.
At the 2015 town meeting, the town authorized raising $100k for the Capital Improvement Reserve Fund. We have no authority to spend from that fund but can petition the DRA to do so. We are requesting authorization to withdraw up to $50k from the reserve fund to cover the balance of the repair project.
Such a request requires the approval of the Select Board and a majority of the Budget Committee. We will be apprising the Budget Committee of this emergency request at their regularly scheduled meeting of 4/22/15. We also expect to conduct a public hearing on Partridge Lane as soon as possible.
The Select Board and Water District Commission will be working on identifying how best to apportion project costs to the two governing entities.