Laconia bridge

Work was well underway Tuesday on the replacement of the Court Street Bridge over Durkee Brook in Laconia. The project is expected to be complete by Nov. 19.

LACONIA — The Court Street Bridge over Durkee Brook is being replaced, so for the next month drivers need to find another way to get into the city from the west.

The more than $2 million project — whose cost is split 80/20 between the state and the city — began Monday with the removal of the existing bridge.

The Evroks Corp., which won the bid for the project, is contractually obligated to be complete by Nov. 19, Wes Anderson, Laconia’s public works director, said Tuesday.

To help make that possible, Court Street is closed to all but local and business traffic between Café Deja Vu to the west and Budget Gas to the east. Detour signs direct drivers at either ends of the work area to take South Main Street to the Laconia Bypass and vice versa.

“It’s a small bridge but it has a major impact” for the city and people who live and work on or around Court Street, said Anderson, adding the bridge replacement is the third and final phase of a project that began with road reconstruction.

He said the detour on the bypass will increase commutes by an average of two minutes, stressing that businesses on Court Street are open and accessible.

The replacement of the Court Street Bridge “has been on the state’s 10-year plan for quite a few years,” said Anderson, not because it was in danger of collapse, but because it was old and its time had come.

The original bridge was made of wood and was replaced by a 16-foot span of concrete.

According to the city’s bid documents, that bridge is being replaced with a three-lane, 36-foot “pre-stressed precast concrete voided-slab bridge with ultra-high performance concrete deck.”

The work, among other things, entails construction of a 550-foot, three-lane approach roadway; replacement of water and sewer lines; and new drainage.

Unlike an upstream bridge on nearby Academy Street that is on the New Hampshire Department of Transportation’s “2020 Municipally-owned Red List Bridges,” the Court Street Bridge “was never downgraded. It just needed to be replaced,” Anderson said.

He said a factor in the Court Street Bridge being prioritized was “just the criticality of the road it’s on.”