|Drew Road resident Virginia Stefanilo stands above a beaver dam and points to worker patching the culvert that runs underneath Drew Road earlier this year, prompting the speed-up on repair of the Drew Road bridge.|
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- After last spring’s storms forced the closure of one lane of Drew Road bridge, town staff say traffic flow should be back to normal by Christmas.
The bridge over Drew Brook serves between 1,000 and 1,500 cars each day just east of the intersection of North Shore Road, said Derry Superintendent of Highway Operations Alan Cote.
During flooding last spring, Cote said the culvert imploded on the upstream side and workers had to cut out a portion of the culvert, bringing the bridge down to one lane of traffic since then.
The bridge reconstruction project went out to bid last month, Cote said, and excavation began Nov. 29.
And this week a crane delivered the new 6-foot wide culvert in pieces to be assembled at the site. Cote said the bridge will be open to all traffic by Christmas. Some final paving work will need to be finished in the spring, he said.
Drew Road bridge had been on a loose schedule for reconstruction and some initial hydraulic studies had been completed before the flooding, Cote said.
“We had been anticipating having to do something down the road because we knew it was under capacity and we wanted to get it replaced,” Cote said. “But during that winter with the flooding, it was the only bridge that was so severely impacted.”
Altogether, Cote said the bridge reconstruction will cost about $294,000, including about $181,000 in construction costs and $77,000 in design work.
Eighty percent of that money will eventually be reimbursed through the state’s bridge aid program, he said.
Since the Drew Road project was an emergency expense and not planned for in the state’s bridge schedule, Cote said it could be several years before Derry sees that reimbursement money.
A million-dollar reconstruction of Fordway Bridge over Beaver Brook was completed this summer, which Cote said will also see an 80 percent reimbursement from the state.
Up next, Cote said Derry is scheduled to reconstruct the North High Street bridge near Franklin Street and Rockingham Road bridge near Bradford Street.
Construction on those bridges is likely to begin in 2014 and 2015, respectively, he said.