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Rain washes away $1M worth of Route 12A in Alstead

ALSTEAD — Water has washed away a stretch of Route 12A for the second time in eight years, presenting state highway officials with a challenge that will keep the road closed for months.

"These are the exact locations that were washed out in the 2005 flooding," Department of Transportation spokesman Bill Boynton said Monday of the Oct. 9, 2005, deluge that claimed four lives in town.

"Definitely we're looking at months, at least two to three months, in order to go through the process of rebuilding what needs to be done down there," Boynton said.

Route 12A is closed between Carpenter Road in Surry and Peabody Lane in Alstead, but the majority of the damage is between Walpole Valley Road and Chartier Lane in Alstead, Boynton said.

The area is challenged by its proximity to Thompson Brook and steep embankments, he said.

DOT engineers plan to take a close look at how to repair the road in a way that would prevent damage like this in the future, whether by shifting the roadway or bringing in a substantial amount of fill, Boynton said.

"What that long-term fix is I don't know. ... Basically we don't want it to happen again," he said.

District engineer Doug Graham said the current estimate to fix the road is about $1 million.

Selectman Matthew Saxton said the 2005 repairs were undone Friday night.

"And the big rocks that were meant to anchor that repair are about 150 feet from where they were placed," Saxton said.

"That was sort of a big expensive job in 2005, and now they have to do it again eight years later," he said. "It's very tight there so I would be interested to see what they come up with there."

One bright spot? Route 123, which was also badly damaged in the 2005 floods, is fine thanks to the way it was rebuilt, Saxton said.

At one point, 12 town roads were closed. The town's emergency management department was out in force Friday night closing roads, putting out orange cones as well as stationing people to warn motorists. Washed-out roads and shoulders were temporarily fixed with gravel over the weekend and will be repaved in the next few weeks, he said.

Saxton estimated damage to town roads at around $300,000.

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