DERRY — Traffic is moving once again on a section of Rockingham Road that had been closed for weeks during a town water and sewer project.
The project that began in September to build a new bridge and install water and sewer utilities reopened last Tuesday, a day ahead of schedule, said Mike Fowler, public works director.
During the project, a section of road was closed and detours were established. The road closure caused traffic delays as motorists were directed to other routes to proceed back to Route 28. Traffic coming in and out of South Range Elementary School was also affected.
A major portion of the work involved replacing a culvert with a 20-foot span. Corrugated metal pipes under the culvert were heavily rusted, according to Hoyle and Tanner engineer Josif Bicja.Kerry Tarquinio, who lives next to the new bridge, said her mailbox was moved and a guardrail was added during the project. She said the project caused frequent delays.
“It’s been a challenge,” she said. “Before we had to go around and tack five minutes on to our commute wherever we were going.”
But conditions have improved with the road reopening, she added.
In the past, residents living near the old culvert experienced flooding sometimes when the brook would overflow. Hopefully, the new bridge will help alleviate the flooding, she said.
“We had a lot of overflows in years past from the brook,” she said. “So, we are hoping a wider culvert will pay off.”
Tarquinio praised the workers who assisted her family with accessing Rockingham Road during some of the work.
“They’ve been friendly and helpful with us getting in and out, the workers,” she said. “They could have been more difficult and they weren’t.”
Next-door neighbor Lorin Earle said he probably has a different view of the project than other residents. During the project, Earle said it was much easier leaving his driveway than when the road was open. Earle said he typically goes in the opposite direction from where the section was closed, so he didn’t have to detour around it and it made his departure much quicker.
“I loved it closed; I loved getting out of my driveway,” he said. “Right now, it’s back to the traffic we used to have.”
Some businesses that reported delays during the project said the road’s reopening has helped conditions return to normal.
The Rockingham Road work is part of a multi-phase project to extend sewer and water down to the intersection where the Grandview Flea Market used to be, Fowler said before the work began. The work will then proceed south and north.
The cost of the multi-phase project is approximately $5 million, according to officials.