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Panel approves Nashua parkway contract

NASHUA — An aldermanic committee this week authorized the first of four major construction contracts — with a nearly $11.1 million price tag — for the future Broad Street Parkway.

The contract, granted to R.S. Audley Inc., will still require approval from other entities, but the aldermanic Finance Committee supported the proposal on Wednesday while stressing a neighborhood meeting should take place before any work begins.

The Broad Street Parkway is an $82 million road project that will provide another crossing over the Nashua River, allowing motorists to bypass Amherst Street, possibly alleviate downtown traffic and potentially attract more business to the Millyard Technology Park.

At nearly 2 miles in length, the parkway is being divided into four construction phases. The first construction contract, which is being recommended by the Board of Public Works and now the Finance Committee, includes the northern portion of the parkway. Work entails widening and upgrading Broad Street east of the Exit 6 interchange, as well as replacing the Baldwin Street Bridge over the Pan Am railroad tracks. Also included is a new signalized intersection where the parkway will meet with Broad Street, a closed drainage system and construction of seven bioretention ponds and one detention pond. New sidewalks on Broad Street will also be constructed, and a building foundation at 44 Broad St. will be removed as part of the contract.“I think it is all going to come together very quickly,” project manager John Vancor told the committee.

The bid from R.S. Audley, $11,052,579, was significantly lower than the engineer’s estimate of nearly $14 million, according to Vancor, calling Audley’s bid “very aggressive.”

Vancor said the contractor is highly skilled with a lot of experience and a good reputation.

There is about $1 million for contingencies in the proposed contract, which is still subject to approval by the full Board of Aldermen, New Hampshire Department of Transportation and the Federal Highway Administration.

Alderman-at-Large David Deane said he is not a big fan of large contingencies, but does understand the need for the reserve money in light of the asbestos within the construction zone.

Neighbors are concerned about disruption to the asbestos, according to Alderman-at-Large Barbara Pressly, who pressed Vancor for the second time in a week to schedule a neighborhood meeting before construction begins, possibly by Nov. 1.

“I think the neighbors need some time to think about it,” said Pressly, whose concerns were echoed by Alderman Arthur Craffey, Ward 4.

Vancor reassured the committee that a neighborhood meeting will soon be scheduled, agreeing that it is critically important to keep the residents informed about the construction schedule.

“We are going to have a neighborhood meeting,” he

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