Breaking Ground Over Water
Building Begins On Route 4 Bridge
Jeff McGuire of CPM Construction works on the causeway of the old Route 4 bridge between West Lebanon, N.H., and White River Junction, Vt., on Nov. 8, 2013. McGuire is the superintendent of the construction project at the bridge. (Valley News - Jennifer Hauck) Purchase photo reprints »
Roger Bishop of CPM Construction works on the old Route 4 bridge between West Lebanon, N.H., and White River Junction, Vt., on Nov. 8, 2013.ÊBishop was making holes in the bridge so a saftey lines could be attached to it Valley News - Jennifer Hauck Purchase photo reprints »
West Lebanon — The old Route 4 bridge linking West Lebanon and White River Junction should be gone by the end of the year, officials said this week.
Workers have begun taking apart the rusted structure at the same time they are erecting a causeway underneath for use during construction of a permancent replacement, said Jeffery Potter, the New Hampshire Department of Transportation’s contract administrator for the project.
Construction on the new bridge, part of the $10.7 million overall project, is expected to get under way by the end of the year.
In the meantime, drivers can expect backups on both side of the river during various construction phases.
The span of Route 4 between the West Lebanon edge of the bridge and the road’s intersection with Route 10 was initially scheduled to have one lane closed this week this week because work crews had planned to transfer utility lines to new polls installed along the hill on the West Lebanon side of the bridge. However, that work was postponed after FairPoint Communications encountered “technical difficulties,” Potter said.
Potter said he didn’t know when the line work would happen. But it should take about a week once it begins, and involve limiting Route 4 for a short stretch in West Lebanon to a single lane of traffic — between the bridge and Route 10 — forcing alternating traffic.
Potter said the inconvience for drivers should be minimal.
“In this particular case I don’t think that it will be impacted that drastically, especially if people seek alternate routes, simply because it’s not a huge area of work,” he said. “It’s going to be one of FairPoint’s trucks sitting opposite one of the utility polls, and it’s going to impact traffic obviously, but it’s not like other construction sites (with) a long lane closure. ... Cars can go around and get back into their lane very quickly.”
At Portland Glass, located near the bridge on the New Hampshire side, employee Jamie Brochu said Friday that past instances of single-lane traffic have had little impact on business.
Across the street at 4 Aces Diner, owner Steve Shorey agreed that he hasn’t seen much of an effect on road traffic — although the restaurant did see a falloff in customers during one recent week, after the roadwork was publicized in the media. That week, he said, business was cut by about half.
Shorey said he’s not worried about upcoming closings, especially since he expects customers deterred by the traffic backups will be replaced by an influx of construction workers, who have already been pouring into the diner for breakfast and lunch most days.
“We were looking forward to that,” he said.
After the utility work is complete, Potter said, there should be “minimal impact to traffic” through the remainder of the year.
The schedule calls for construction to pick up again in the spring, Potter said. Reconstruction of the Route 4 roadway between the West Lebanon side of the bridge and Route 10 will also take place at that time, including installation of water, sewer and drainage pipelines and new sub-base materials for the road.
The target date for the completion is October 2015. The entire project, led by contractors CPM Construction, of Freeport, Maine, is expected to be completed by summer 2016.
Motorists have been traveling over a temporary span since 2009, when it was installed next to the old bridge. The cost of repairs to the old deteriorating structure outweighed the cost of replacing it, Potter said.
Maggie Cassidy can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.