Million dollar roadwork request

By Tanner Harding | Mar 01, 2017

Rochester — Highway Surveyor Jeff Eldridge is asking the town for one million dollars to repave High Street and Hartley Road.

Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar said the funds could be paid for through a debt exclusion – a temporary property tax increase to fund the road work.

At a Selectmen meeting in December, Highway Surveyor Jeff Eldridge discussed safety improvements for High Street using $310,000 from the state.

These included replacing the guard rail and worn out warning signs and speed limit signs, as well as adding warning chevron arrow signs around curves for safety.

These particular measures were chosen because most of the accidents on High Street are single car crashes, where people lose control of their cars and hit trees or end up off the side of the road and hit trees.

The town will get the money for those improvements from the state because the road was identified as a street eligible for a state grant based on crash data.

Prior to making these improvements with the state, the Highway Department wants to repave the road.

Eldridge estimates that it will cost about $750,000 to repave High Street, and the left over money would go toward Hartley Road.

The debt exclusion would be for 15 years. On average, residents would see a yearly increase of $40 their tax bills. That is, if they OK it.

Residents will be asked to vote “yes” on the debt exclusion at the annual town election, April 12.

Voters would then be asked to appropriate the money to the road project at Town Meeting in May.

The last time the town approved a debt inclusion was for additions to Rochester Memorial School.

At their meeting on Monday night, Selectmen said they would draw up an agenda item on the road project to include it on the Town Meeting agenda.


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