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Allenstown considers major roadwork project

ALLENSTOWN — Town officials are considering a major reconstruction project for a series of roadways, drainage systems and sidewalks, and a proposed bond is likely to be presented to voters at Town Meeting in March.

Allenstown Town Administrator Shaun Mulholland said preliminary estimates indicate the project is likely to cost around $2 million, and 10-, 15- and 20-year bonds are being considered.

Mulholland said the current budget only allows for about 800 feet of roadway to be reconstructed each year, and that is a problem.

“It would be well beyond 30 years before we could catch up at that schedule,” he said. “That cycle isn’t sustainable.”

Taking a cue from towns such as Bedford and Amherst, which have recently passed similar bonds, Mulholland said Allenstown residents stand to save in the long run.

“The problem isn’t getting better, it’s getting worse, and the cost of pavement goes up far faster than the cost of a bond, so we think it makes more sense to do it now, in 2015 dollars, as opposed to waiting and doing it in 2020 or 2025 dollars,” he said.

Mulholland said the scope of the project, which would likely begin in 2015 and end in 2016, is still fluid. As such, he said selectmen want input from residents and have scheduled two public hearings this month.The first session — for residents of Library Street, Webster Street, East Webster Street, Whitten Street, Reynolds Avenue and Ferry Street — is scheduled for July 15 at 6 p.m. at Allenstown Town Hall.

The other public hearing — targeting residents of River Road, Heritage Drive, Meadow Lane and Townhouse Road — is set for July 22 at the same time and location.

“We really want to know what the people who live there think,” said Mulholland.

Opinions from homeowners on Reynolds Avenue are of particular interest, he said, since the town is considering discontinuing throughway use of a section of that road that connects Canal Street and Webster Street.

In addition, Mulholland said officials are trying to decide whether to repair sidewalks on Webster Street, Whitten Street and Reynolds Avenue — at a significant cost — or to eliminate the sidewalks, which don’t meet current Americans with Disabilities Act standards, in favor of wider roadways with additional street parking.

Sewer, water and gasline work under the roadways is possible in conjunction with the project, said Mulholland.

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