Escrow account made to hold payments for new Lilac Bridge
HOOKSETT — Officials are continuing to try to solve the problem of the mismatched pedestrian bridge installed earlier this month.
Money for the project is being put aside in an escrow account for now, which means the town will still get the invoices for work that has been done and will be done on the matching two sections, but won’t immediately make payments until the matter is resolved.
“... When the resolution comes to terms and everybody agrees, then we can issue the payments,” said Finance Director Christine Soucie.
Work on the pedestrian bridge was temporarily stopped after officials noticed a glaring problem: One of the three segments doesn’t match the others.
The northern span of the Lilac Bridge is a different shape than the other two. The steel beams are thinner and the diagonal ones go in the opposite direction of the ones in the other two spans. There also appears to be a height difference between the differing spans.
“I think this looks ridiculous,” said Town Administrator Dean Shankle. “This is just stupid.”
The new footbridge will span across the river and mirror the shape of the former Lilac Bridge. It will connect Merrimack Street to Riverside Drive near Robie’s Country Store. In all, the entire project is expected to cost about $3.3 million.
This will delay the opening of the bridge, which had been planned for December.
Shankle said he has been in touch with the engineering company — Dubois & King Inc. out of Laconia — about the issue. He said they told him the span, which is shorter than the other two, was built according to standard processes.
“I can’t believe that they think that’s OK and they’re trying to argue that’s OK,” Shankle said.
The engineering firm was the entity that got the final renderings of the bridge from the design company. Shankle said town officials have also been in touch with that company as well, who also said it was built according to standard processes.
The Town Council gave Shankle the authority to work with town’s attorney to address the matter at their Oct. 11 meeting.