Troubled waters for Milton's Townhouse Road bridge
Residents are concerned about a variety of issues, from heavy trucks bouncing across the bridge, to kids leaping into the Salmon Falls River and the need to reroute local traffic.
"The positive part is it cuts down on the speed," Joe St. Lawrence said, adding many children and families walk along the road to swim on the lake.
Jeff Everett, who owns the New Bridge Road marina with his wife, said much of his business comes from foot traffic from Mi-Ti-Jo Campground on Townhouse Road.
"I'm not sure if the ice cream store will be able to stay open," Everett said, adding ice cream allows customers a chance to see that the marina also offers boat rentals and other services.
"That clock starts when the town puts in the paperwork," Everett said, adding if Milton town officials submitted the necessary forms five years ago, they could have been halfway there.
Mayville, who oversees the State Aid Bridge (SAB) program, said New Hampshire legislators created the SAB program in 1994 to help communities construct or repair municipal bridges. She added the program reimburses communities 80 percent of the costs for a project, which are typically managed by individual towns.
Out of the 1,686 municipal bridges in the state, Mayville said 998 — or 59 percent — are in satisfactory condition, 353 (21 percent) are below legal load capabilities or are in poor condition, 280 (16.6) percent have a major element in fair condition and 50(3 percent) are closed.
"If the SAB funding should increase, as is currently under consideration, then construction could be done sooner," Mayville said, adding state legislators are considering an increase to the gas tax, which could double the funding for the SAB.
"On the New Hampshire side, the total cost would be approximately $700,000," Mayville said, adding the town would have to pay $140,000 and get reimbursed for $560,000 through the SAB.
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